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'Tampa' by Alissa Nutting

Guest Dabeagle

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Guest Dabeagle

I should begin this review by saying it's for mature audiences.

I have noted an upswing in the past few years of cases where females, usually teachers, are found to be in a sexually abusive/manipulative relationship with younger, male students. You need search no farther than this section of the Huffington Post to get an idea what I'm talking about. I'm not sure where the line gets drawn, age wise, as some young adults are more mature than some retirees. States are equally conflicted as to the age of consent and there may be good reason for that. Some people mature faster physically and some are the same but mentally or in terms of maturation.

Some of this concept was done in the film 'Notes on a Scandal' which dealt with a teacher with a tough home life who ends up falling for a teen student - and then the aftermath. This is a simplistic description, it's much deeper than that.

The main character in 'Tampa' isn't a likeable one. She expresses narcissistic opinions about herself in comparison to others and wonders how some people can live with themselves, being so unattractive in her opinion. She is manipulative in the extreme and lets us know, through her mental conversations, that she is attracted to boys who have reached puberty but who haven't yet experienced the building of muscles or the broadening of shoulders. She deliberately watches her classes with a lot of detail about her state of arousal and how she deals with it, as she works to select a boy for her sexual desires.

While this develops she also lets us know how repulsive she finds adults and, unsurprisingly, her husband. Although people state in the story that she and her husband hit the 'genetic jackpot', she is loathe to have him touch her and drugs herself on wine and prescription drugs if she has to have sex with him. She displays sociopathic traits - unable to empathize with others pain, for instance - and is guided only by her libido for young teen boys. She even admits, at one point, that her attraction to her first victim, Jack, will only last a year or two at the most before he ages too much for her.

While the book bears little resemblance to the more current news scandals in terms of the age of the abused, it does delve into the concepts of how society views male victims of rape. Traditionally society views rape as the domain of men who perpetuate this on women or other men. However, as The Unbreakable Project shows, men can also be the victims - and not just from other men. Males in our society, upon hearing that a teacher (presumably good looking) has had intercourse with a male student, frequently make callous comments. These include but are not limited to 'I wish that had happened to me!' or 'How lucky can a guy be?' The psychological damage, however, lasts for years. The confusion, the guilt leads to intimacy problems that can last a lifetime.

As our main character shows us, her plans must be carried out in secrecy. She warns her young victims that they can't speak of it, can't take pictures or anything else that may leave evidence behind. As situation after situation develops and slowly destroys young Jack's ideas of love and intimacy, it becomes clear how destructive these situations really are for young males. This book is a dark look into something that has only recently become news, a situation that is still rarely examined with the caring eye it should be - children of either sex are damaged by these illicit affairs.

I read this because it was on a 'banned books' list. You won't soon forget it.

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Thanks for the review. I found it very well written and objective.

I saw this book on Goodreads but didn't followup on a mental note to check it out on Amazon. So I did, just now. The reviews on Amazon are mostly in two groups:

1. "I hate, hate, hate it, don't read it."

2. "I hate the subject matter but it's really well written and effective and I hate to say it but I really liked this book."

I'm going to pass on reading it.

First, it's too expensive as a Kindle book (almost $10.00).

Second, no surprise that our library doesn't have a digital copy to check out (for free)... and even if they did, probably a 'no' on borrowing it.

Third, I have too many other books to read on my tablet's Kindle app.

Colin :icon_geek:

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