This one’s another doozy for ya, friends. Tampa by Alissa Nutting (her first novel) tells the story of Celeste Price, a 26-year-old teacher with a penchant for her cop husband’s money, maintaining her flawless looks, and 14-year-old boys. To satisfy her need, Celeste has worked towards a teaching position all her life and the book begins with the start of the school year, complete with an outside trailer classroom and a door that locks. She immediately begins scouting for a suitable prospect–a boy not too confident, but not too shy, and who definitely hasn’t reached puberty yet. Terrifying and at times repulsive, Celeste risks everything for her predatory relationship with a young eighth-grader that fulfills all her sick fantasies.
At times it was very hard to read just because of the subject matter, but Nutting’s command of Celeste as a character is utterly amazing. The look into her mind and thoughts is so disturbing that it’s compelling, unlike any other character I’ve seen. Addressing female pedophilia in a new light, Tampa is a masterfully concocted but ultimately unpleasant story that will make you squirm until the very end. A thought to ponder–would the same book with a male pedophile receive similar praise?
On a lighter note, just picked up The Husband’s Secret and looking forward to starting it! Everyone’s been talking about it . . .