Published by Ecco on July 2, 2013
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Celeste Price has it all. She’s smart, beautiful, and wealthy. Plus, she’s well-liked and admired. The problem is that she doesn’t want any of it. She doesn’t want her fancy car, nice house, or expensive jewelry. In fact, she doesn’t even want her husband. What she does want is 14-year old boys, which is why she became a middle school teacher in the first place. Tampa, the controversial debut by Alissa Nutting, details Celeste’s mission to find a suitable middle schooler to take on as a lover. It’s disturbing, explicit, and surprisingly well written.
Despite its content, Tampa is a page-turner. Celeste knows that she’s doing something illegal and simply doesn’t care. Rationalizing (in her mind) each decision to work in her favor grants her the freedom to do as she pleases, regardless of the deception and pain it may cause. She is boldly willing to sacrifice anything and everything that stands in her way because her addiction to 14-year old boys is a craving that must be satisfied, no matter what the cost.
To be honest, this entire book is pretty hard to stomach, especially the first half. So hard to stomach, in fact, that I have to wonder about the author’s predilections because really, who thinks of the things in this book? Her ability to get into the mind of Celeste is unsettling. It’s not smut, exactly, but it’s in the same zip code. So while I wouldn’t recommend this to my Mom (I don’t want us to both have read the words in this book), I don’t not recommend it, either. If you’re someone who’s willing to read something controversial and uncomfortable for the sake of reading something controversial, then this one makes the cut. Otherwise, it’s probably not for you.