Written By: Alissa Nutting
Published by: Ecco an imprint of Harper Collins Publisher July 2013
Length: 263 pages
Source: Loaned from a friend
This book begins the night before school starts. Celeste Price is laying in bed thinking of how her day will go, it’s her first day teaching. Unlike most teachers who would be worrying about their performance, their ability to lead and capture the attention of her middle school students Celeste is laying in bed touching herself, thinking of all the 14 year old boys she will get to see, to smell and be near.
Celeste is obsessed with 14 year old boys. While she is married, she has no sexual interest in her husband Ford. She begrudgingly has sex with him, in a less than dutiful way. She often drugs him, just a bit, so he will fall asleep before he can make a move on her. Their outwardly perfect marriage is a sham, it’s as if she married him to keep up an image of a safer gorgeous young woman teaching middle school.
Celeste knows the boy she is looking for. He must be a bit naive, not tethered to a group of friends where he might be compelled to discuss a conquest with the hot new English teacher. He needs to be almost underdeveloped, no beard, a bit young looking. Jack Patrick was such a young man. Celeste was cunning and deliberate in her plans to lure young Jack into her pants, and she into his. She has given so much thought to how she will arrange time with a student, she has dressed to arouse but not in an outwardly slutty way, just enough.
As this tryst begins the reader wonders how anyone can get away with this kind of thing. Celeste is so calculating in her devotion and desire for Jack it’s all encompassing. The story just keeps going and going, and the audacity of it all never ends.
I wanted to read this book as soon as I read a few reviews. This isn’t the book you rave about and tell all your friends to read, it’s the book you read, letting the actions and thoughts of the main character roll over you. You read it, you think about it, you shake your head and want to hide your own teen son away from such temptations.
Allissa Nutting has done an amazing job at capturing the mind of a female pedophile, a sociopath. Many times we think of only men as pursuing young girls, being the aggressors. Reality has shown too many cases of female teachers having liaisons with young students. Nutting writes of such a woman, a woman who admits her attraction is singularly towards 14 year old boys, and she will stop at next to nothing to have what she wants.
Tampa is not for the faint of heart or the prudish, the language is raw and descriptive. The sex is very detailed. I’ve given this book a 4 out of 5 stars. The ending was startling and made Celeste even more deviant than I’d thought. Recommend This is Ms. Nutting’s first novel.