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128 Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A minor classic of the new century...
Some of the sentences in this book pop and snap with incredible authority and beauty. OK, she is no Nabokov but that is an utterly irrelevant criticism. Here are some of my favourite moments:

[On overweight joggers:] "Their silhouettes eclipsed my binocular view and I looked up to watch them saunter off, elbows out, rowing through the air like impotent wings...
Published 17 months ago by Mr. A. D. Smith

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but just lacking greatness
This book was recommended to me solely on the risque nature of its subject and it was apparent after reading previous reviews on this site that it would be a very divisive read.

I can't stand the British cliche of something being 'marmite' in that it is only possible to love or hate that particular item. Probably because I simply think marmite is just 'okay.'...
Published 18 months ago by A. C. Andrews


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There's two hours of my life I'm not getting back!, 21 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Tampa (Kindle Edition)
I didn't like the book because I found the central character SO unsympathetic. I just couldn't care less what happened to her!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There, I said it., 18 Sept. 2013
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tampa (Kindle Edition)
I finished "Tampa" yesterday and thought about it for a while and I still do not know what to make of it. This is one of those books that people are going to have opinions about (already here, on amazon.co.uk, I can see people getting angry about the book and angrier at people who actually liked the book). I liked the book. There, I said it. Not because of the numerous somewhat sickening descriptions of sex between the main protagonist, gorgeous Celeste, which I suspect (despite never opening the shades of grey books), is more intelligent in its description and narrative than E.L. James could ever master (people complained!). The subject matter is pretty gruesome, the heroine is a sociopath surrounded by a not very likeable (and a lot of the times not fully developed) supporting cast.

The book sets out to get into the head of a sexual predator (and not a male one!) and it successfully achieves its aim. We know what Celeste is like and what her objectives are, and how she is, it seems, not capable of feelings. The book is engaging and interesting and kept me on the edge of my seat (very subtly hinting at the inevitable end).

Alissa Nutting's voice is fresh and colloquial but the narrative weakens towards the conclusion. The ending appears to be written in a hurried manner, as if the author practiced a lot describing the dangerous mind and its works (the book almost feels like a one character study), but did not write convincingly about the inevitable consequences her heroine faced. And what to make of the endless descriptions of sex (bordering on pornography)? At first they were offensive and a bit unsettling, but I found towards the middle of the book I almost did not pay attention to them. I was tired of explicitness of sex scenes which, after a while, failed to shock and did not add anything new to the narrative.

All in all, I found this to be a quick read which aims to entertain and seed thoughts (not every day we are told about a female sexual predator and psychopath, and told intelligently and engagingly, with a pinch of wit), but doesn't purport to be a literary masterwork. It did not call to be compared to Lolita (Penguin Classics) and, even though while reading it I thought of Notes on a Scandal a few times, these are two completely different works telling different things. I find a lot of people keep comparing these three different books - don't!

So there, I read it and enjoyed it (it certainly proved to be a page-turner for me), but you don't have to (I still won't come anywhere near the shades of grey!). Three to four stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A challenging but rewarding read, 25 April 2014
By 
Mark Daws (Cambridgeshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tampa (Paperback)
A book which challenges your views and certainly a difficult one to have out on your lap during the daily commute.
The novel is written in a trashy way but it encourages you to continue as you really want to know what will become of the central character and her ongoing daring raids on the young men at her school. I read it within a couple of days and would gladly recommend it as a brave subject for the author to cover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and I absolutely loved it. It's incredibly addictive, 2 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Tampa (Paperback)
Bought as a Christmas present, and I absolutely loved it. It's incredibly addictive, read it in the space of 4 days and it's quite a big book. Nutting vividly puts you in the place of the protagonist and the lust she has for younger boys, yet with a twist of humour and nice use of location. The protagonist is funny, surprisingly likeable and makes you want to read on and on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Try out Tampa, 20 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Tampa (Paperback)
Just as shocking as I was expecting - and I really enjoyed it! I couldn't put the book down and wanted to re-read it straight away - it is one of those books that you have to spend days working out how you feel about it, whether it is ok to like it and... Why isn't it longer?? The ending did seem a little sudden. Great book though, definitely worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and entertaining, 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Tampa (Kindle Edition)
Tampa is a hilariously written and enjoyable book about a sociopathic peadophile. I first picked it up when visiting Germany and was howling with laughter after the first page. I've since bought it on Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great story, well-written, and the main character is a complete bitch, yet likeable. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red blooded USA ..., 13 Oct. 2013
By 
P. Millar "dazzle" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Tampa (Paperback)
Celeste has sexual desire for teenage boys - more specifically fourteen year old boys (not quite a child, not quite a man) - and she organises her whole life around this desire. She is essentially a sociopath who will do almost anything to satisfy her lusts.

The main bulk of the book concerns her affair (predation?, corruption?) with Jack Patrick - an easily led fourteen year old who eventually takes the encounters with his school teacher more seriously than she does. We are treated to descriptions of their sexual antics and the ways in which Celeste plans the meetings with meticulousness so as to avoid being caught. Near the end of the book she starts an affair with a much more willing boy and this proves to be her downfall (she lets her passions override her logical side).

The novel is told from Celeste's point of view and captures her matter of fact way of thinking perfectly (a similar style was used in 'American Psycho') and, because it is from her point of view, there is no moralising, guilt or redemption - she does what she does because she wants to do it, and she doesn't see it as wrong but knows it is against the law. Of course by the end of the book questions will be raised about her actions in the reader's mind - is a female 'abusing' (in the eyes of the law) teenage boys as bad as a male 'abusing' teenage girls? don't some of a teenage boy's fantasies revolve around sexual contact with a good looking female teacher? how come society condemns her actions while it simultaneously surrounds us with images of young, good looking, sexy teenage girls and boys? and are love and sex two quite different things?

Of course comparisons with Nabokov's 'Lolita' are obvious but, apart from the subject matter, they couldn't be more different and I think the comparisons are unwarranted. It makes more sense to compare it to the novel 'Lightning Rods' and the writers Charlotte Roche, Chuck Palahniuk, A.M. Homes and Douglas Coupland, it also treads similar ground to Eleanor Catton's 'The Rehearsal' and Emily Maguire's 'Taming the Beast'.

If you are looking for a thought provoking read, something ultra-modern or even something which might make you slightly uncomfortable then this could be the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An extreme of The Graduate but with much younger pupil, interesting title and book cover!, 8 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Tampa (Kindle Edition)
This was an interesting novel, that like someone else said, was not shared with friends, given the content. Shame because my daughter and I had a good conversation about the taboo subject of men younger than the woman but both agreed it was an extreme taboo and mis use of position for a teacher to latch over pupils.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 31 Dec. 2013
By 
K. Neary (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tampa (Paperback)
Couldn't put this down- there are an infinite number of books out there with unsympathetic predatory male characters but I don't think I've ever read one where the female protagonist is quite so cold and sexually driven. Blackly comic, repulsive and uncomfortably arousing by turn. Thought provoking throughout.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Climax I Wanted, 8 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Tampa (Kindle Edition)
Haven't people got their knickers in a twist over Alissa Nutting's Tampa? I knew it would be a controversial and difficult read before I began, but this book quite took my breath away. And I'm not entirely sure it's a good thing.
I feel I need to address the controversy separately from the book itself so I'll leave the brouhaha til the end.
Tampa is the story of Celeste, the high-maintenance wife of a rich cop who likes pre-pubescent teenage boys. And when I say `like' what I mean is that she has a pathological sexual obsession with them. She trained as an English teacher just so she would be exposed to the possibilities of a relationship with one of her charges, and she quickly picks out her victim. Jack is one of those 14 year olds who still looks like a boy. There are no hints yet of the man he might become and he lacks the maturity to resist his predatory teacher. What follows is Jack's seduction and systematic abuse by a woman who cares for naught but her sexual satisfaction.
Nutting tells Celeste's story in the first person forcing the reader into an uncomfortable intimacy with the story. Celeste is obsessed with sex - so long as it's not with her husband, Ford - and the author describes her acts and fantasies in forensic detail. But far from being titillating or erotic, the sex in this book is cold and emotionless. I found myself praying that Celeste would be caught and put away where she could no longer have access to Jack and his peers, which is why the denouement of the book disappointed me so much.
I have read that Tampa has been likened to a mix of Lolita and American Psycho. Certainly, there is a certain amount of black humour in the book which may remind you of Patrick Bateman, but where the violence in American Psycho largely takes place in Bateman's head, the atrocities in Tampa do happen to Jack. And as for Lolita, Humbert Humbert was portrayed as having some affection for Lolita. Celeste cares only for herself and her own sexual gratification.
Paedophilia is a distressing topic and Tampa is a very difficult read. As a woman, I found a female paedophile especially distressing - aren't we supposed to be the nurturers and care-givers? Celeste's sociopathic selfishness is the antithesis of all we, as a society, expect from women and while I normally like my expectations to be upended by a book, I'm not sure Nutting has done so in a way I enjoyed.
I've given a lot of thought to whether or not any topic should be out of bounds for a writer and I think that any censorship is a bad thing. What matters is how the topic is treated and while Celeste is portrayed as exactly what she is, ultimately her punishment didn't fit her crimes and I was left wanting more.
Would I recommend Tampa to others? Yes, I think so, so long as you go in with your eyes open and are prepared to think about what you've read for several days afterwards.
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Tampa
Tampa by Alissa Nutting (Paperback - 1 Aug. 2013)
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