Sunday, May 10, 2015

Audio review: Carter's Unfocused One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford

Carter's Unfocused One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. Performed by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, August, 2013. 9781480543409. (Purchased)

Will Carter and his boys are now sophomores in this third book featuring the hilarious, horny and clueless crew. Abby is angsting over whether she should attend drama school in New York. She thinks Carter should come with her. Carter would love to, especially since it increases his chances of getting in her pants. Only, he doesn't really want to leave his boys. His appreciation for the "drama geeks" is growing as are his friendships with several, especially Jeremy. Rumor has it that Scary Terry is out of juvie and gunning for Carter and E.J. This has the boys practically wetting their pants with anxiety; so they start a fight club. They only have one pair of boxing gloves so they split the pair with a pair of ski gloves and take turns whaling on each other. Yeah. Good times.

These books are not everyone's cup of tea. There's something to offend just about everyone here- profanity, bodily fluids of all sorts, unfiltered, impolitic opinions, fighting, drinking, the unbridled desire to get laid crippled by the sheer terror of talking to and getting rejected by a girl, teenage pregnancy and vandalism. We can't forget the vandalism, nor the acts of mass stupidity that usually elicits the question, "If they jumped off of the bridge, would you follow?" by exasperated adults. 

It is also the perfect boy book. No, I don't mean this is just a book for boys or reluctant reader boys. It is a book for all boys and ex-boys and the girls and ex-girls who love them, teach them, mother them, are maddened by them or are stuck with them. Carter is so endearing. His voice is honest and yearning and hopeful. He's so lovably insecure, intuitive and courageous. He's a football jock who is also a drama geek. He befriends fellow drama geek, Jeremy, who is gay and doesn't hesitate to defend him when Jeremy is confronted by homophobic bullies. (Unnecessary help, by the way, since Jeremy was perfectly able to defend himself but sweet of Carter, nonetheless.) His perpetual tardiness and inattention earn him suicides in football and Saturday morning detention where, he hilariously finds he can actually get some work done!

Carter's world is magnificently brought to life in Nick Podehl's hands. Podehl is a gifted performer with all sorts of material (Chaos Walking Trilogy, Personal Effects, Boundless, Everlost, anything!), but he consistently and perfectly nails the comedy of male adolescence. His timing is impeccable. Carter's interior monologues are especially appealing. While his female voices are not the best, his stable full of male voices are distinct and fitting.

Teens who enjoy the Carter trilogy will love Don Calame's Swim the Fly books (which Podehl also nimbly narrated) and Geoff Herbach's Felton Reinstein trilogy.

While this is billed as the conclusion of a trilogy and does end quite nicely, I, for one, would not mind an installment featuring Carter and Abby at drama school.

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