It's written by two authors, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (the latter who wrote the awesome Boy Meets Boy, which is, sadly, unlikely to appear in a theater near you anytime soon).
So, because teenaged boys don't usually find love (with each other) on the big screen, we'll have to make do with Nick and Norah. I was very attracted to the premise of the book, which was about people coming together through music in one crazy NYC night. But Playlist gave me an odd feeling of strong discomfort. I'll try to examine why this might be...
- My visualization of the Nick character as Michael Cera, who plays him in the film. I get that Michael Cera is riding the tiger right now, but I wouldn't have cast him as the smokin' hot bassist of an underground queercore band. It was just confusing.
- The book's status as "young adult" fiction, paired with stuff that I thought was really too sexual and "inappropriate" for young teens. Now, don't get me wrong, I know that many teens are having sex. But while Nick and Norah don't actually get jiggy with it in the book, it somehow manages to be extremely explicit, which weirded me out. That might seem like a "duh" statement from an asexual, but descriptions of sex usually never faze me. However, a large part of the book dealt with feelings surrounding sexual attraction, and I had a hard time relating to all that, especially since the characters are "kids" in my mind.
- On that note, the characters seemed to have concerns that didn't match up with their youth. Norah was extremely worried about the idea that she might be "frigid"-- I just wanted to shake her shoulders and say "Girl! You are 18! EIGHTEEN!" But, just because she didn't want to have sex with every guy, she started to believe this whole story about her fundamental "frigidity". I just felt sooo bad for her. Always awkward. I mentored some young kids when I was in college, and I learned that they take everything way too seriously. So I know that it's a kid thing, but that doesn't mean it's not frustrating to read about.
- I enjoy stories about young love as much as the next person, but on some level, they always make me feel strange. This is probably because that most-exulted experience, "young love", has never happened to me and never will. I have no way to say this without making it sound extremely sad, and that's part of its mystique. I'm not sad about it, actually. There has been no time in my life when I've had the racing hormones/lack of rationality that makes this kind of love possible, and I can't change that. But, when put to music, as Playlist tries to do, love suddenly makes perfect sense to me. Because music is love. But amid all the sexual stuff, I was sad to see that the musical aspect got a little lost. (Cheesy Godpseed! You Black Emperor references do not count.)
But I want books like Playlist to have a disclaimer: "This may not happen to you. You don't have to haunt clubs and stand by the jukebox playing "Spottieottiedopalicious" 500 times in order to find someone to fall in love with. Maybe you'll meet them in a Scrabble group or a Weight Watchers meeting. Maybe you'll meet them at noon, totally sober. As Josef K said [and I think Cohn and Levithan would appreciate this], 'There are so many pathways that lead to the heart.'"
At least, I'd like to think so; falling into romantic love with other humans is something I know nothing about. And as the Smiths said [again, possible appreciation by C & L]:
"There's a club if you'd like to go, you could meet someone who really loves you. So you go, and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry, and you want to die."
A little extreme, sure, but I don't want anyone to have to go through that. Can we expand what a fulfilling evening could be? So, how about y'all? Any "magical night" stories?