Highly Illogical Behaviour – John Corey Whaley
Likely to be a novel that I recommend widely to a variety of people.
|Highly Illogical Behaviour - John Corey Whaley|
Solomon Reed hasn’t been outside for three years. He’s a sixteen year old agoraphobe, unable to cope with the displeasing complexities of the outside world, most probably other human beings. Lisa Praytor has a scholarship dream and a control problem. Put the two together and you have a potentially cheesy sitcom drama or you have a novel that is thoroughly entertaining and reflective. You might even get a friendship. Throw in Superman, Star Trek, a church-going summer camper, and things coming out of the closet, and you definitely get Highly Illogical Behaviour.
Solomon Reed is an adorable character. Like most of the crazy kids, there is much more to him than meets the eye – and even he doesn’t realise this. I thought that Lisa might have made the novel terribly annoying, but even she grew on me. I loved the way that the relationship between Lisa and her boyfriend, Clark, is turned on its stereotypical head when it comes to sex.
The novel is written in the third person, and I think this ramps up the humour level a little because the narrator throws in some background details that are exactly what we’d probably all be thinking but would never tell. The narrator alternates their attention between chapters for Solomon and Lisa buts puts in a lot of dialogue – and some of it is paragraphs long. But, you don’t notice this and the writing flows at a pacey rate.
One of my favourite lines from the novel (and yes, it’s on the book’s back jacket blurb): “Sometimes life just hands you the lemonade, straight up in a chilled glass with a little slice of lemon on top.” Sums the novel up perfectly, really.
If you like John Green’s writing and if you laughed out loud and fell in love with The Rosie Project, Highly Illogical Behaviour will probably also hit the sweet spot for you. It did for me.
Highly Illogical Behaviour has been nominated for the 2017 Carnegie Medal.
Publication details: Faber & Faber, 2016, London, paperback
This copy: review copy from the publisher