Review of What I Was by

Book cover for What I Was

Not my cup of tea.

I like books like this, but I didn't enjoy this particular one as much as I had hoped. I just could not commit myself to empathizing with the narrator, so the entire story left me hollow. I felt like I was a passenger.

The first part of the book was quite intriguing. The narrator is a noncomformist boy who's been expelled twice; this is literally the boarding school of last resort. Then he discovers a friend in the form of a boy living alone in a house on an island near the school, and the two form a tentative relationship laced with overtones of homosexuality--which is just what Rosoff wants before she pulls THE TWIST that changes everything.

Unfortunately, after THE TWIST, the book isn't the same. It rapidly becomes a "hindsight is 20/20" sermon in which the main character regrets that he has no regrets and ultimately has not made much of his life. We are left with no resolution. It's quite postmodernist.

Much of the book consists of lyrical, florid prose. The descriptions are lengthy and evocative. The writing is quite good; don't get me wrong. I'll try more of Rosoff in the future. But this book didn't strike a chord for me.

Engagement

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