February 14, 2010

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

Summary: Alex is an idiot. After getting angry over his parents impending divorce, he decides to get drunk and drive to his father's house. Instead he crashes into someone's lawn and cracks their lawn gnome. As a sentence, Alex is given community service to keep company to a cantankerous old man named Soloman Lewis.

Likes: The story was sweet. I chuckled a little, I had a tear coming from my eye, but it didn't cause any overwhelming emotions. The character Alex is unsympathetic but grows over time. He seems like the archetype of the typical teen, confused, angry, and a bit self-centered. It was interesting to see him grow more sympathetic the more he learned from Soloman. The story takes the "Wise Old Man" trope and runs with it, in a way that doesn't seem overly sentimental, condescending, or preachy. Soloman is a lovable old man who at first doesn't seem to have a reason to be angry until you learn about his back story, which ties the whole story together. 

Dislikes:  It was highly predictable and the ending was a little corny. I was curious about the Judge and her backstory. Without giving too much away, the judge seemed unbelievable and it was strange how she randomly came back into the story when she was partly the one to blame. Alex got off really really easy in terms of his sentencing, which seemed a little bit too unrealistic (but it was easy to suspend one's disbelief for the sake of the story, in my opinion) as well.
Overall: I liked this book. It was an entertaining read as an older student looking back on experiences that I had. I probably would have liked it if I were still in high school while I was going through the same experiences instead of looking back on them. 


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