Tommy Wallach is one of those authors that I had been wanting to read one of his books for a while but I never got around to purchasing it. Then he comes out with a new book and I cannot pass it up in the book store. I am so glad I did not pass this one up.
Thanks for the Trouble follows Parker, who was in the car accident when he was 11 years old that resulted in his father dying. Since then Parker has refused to speak. He doesn’t really try that hard in school and doesn’t have anyone he would consider a friend. He spends most of his time hanging out in hotel lobbies where he steals from people. It is there that he meets a silver haired girl named Zelda who he promptly steals thousands of dollars from her. Only he goes back and she strikes a deal with him. He has to apply to college and she will let him spend all of her money with her. There is a catch though. Zelda is waiting for a phone call and once she receives that phone call she plans to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Parker then sets out to convince Zelda that life is still worth living, no matter how much she claims to have lived enough life.
One thing I really liked about this book was the way it was written. It was written in first person as a college application essay by Parker. At times it really felt like Parker was talking to me personally. Or like I was the person reading his college application. He was applying for the creative writing programs so there were short stories written by Parker in the middle of the story. There were only three of them but man do I wish there had been more. They weren’t very long and the fell under the fairytale/fantasy section but they were so good. I want Wallach’s next book to be about some mystical fantasy land with dragons and knights. He wrote it so well. I really enjoyed those.
I also really enjoyed Parker’s character. He felt so realistic. He had several flaws and made several bad decisions but he never tried to pretend like he didn’t make them or that they were someone else’s fault. He owned up to his mistakes. He skipped school, he robbed people, he cussed openly and freely. He wasn’t this picture perfect character that I often see in books. He was more like someone I could meet in real life.
There were some frustrating parts of the plot. A lot of the different things that the characters do seemed way to unrealistic to me. Like the fact that Parker robbed people constantly in hotels. How had he never once been caught? He was also not questioned a lot when he went places. How could a 17 year old sitting alone in a hotel lobby not be questioned once? How could a 17 year old just walk into a hospital and get sent to a room without showing he knew the patient in that room? Just a bunch of little things in the plot that bugged me.
Warning there may be what some considered spoilers appearing so read at your own risk.
I did not like Zelda’s character that much. Zelda’s character claims to be 246 years old. Whether or not you believe her is left up to you pretty much the entire book. Parker doesn’t believe until near the end. But this wasn’t what I disliked about Zelda. I liked this idea that she had been alive and 18 years old for 246 years. What I did not like was how she handled her situation. Parker repeatedly asked her to prove herself and prove that she was telling the truth and she brushed it off like she couldn’t explain it. In my opinion all she had to do was show him pictures of her. The camera was invented at some point in her 246 years of life so there had to have been pictures of her. She also handled things in a frustrating fashion for someone who had been living for so long. I would think she would have more common sense than her character did. It was often quite frustrating dealing with her character.
Overall it was a different book from what I had expected when I picked it up. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It was a good read if you want to read a book full of good writing but not the most pleasing storyline.