5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Oates Greatest Young Adults Novel Thus Far,
This review is from: Sexy (Hardcover)
Unflinchingly forging into new territory, Joyce Carol Oates has written a novel delving into the mind of an adolescent boy whose potent sexual appeal is only just emerging. The author's first two novels for young adults primarily focused on the lives of unpopular, strong-willed teenage girls. In this novel she writes about a character named Darren who is popular, athletic and (to his confusion) attractive. The story focuses on an encounter Darren has with one of his teachers named Mr Tracy. A group of Darren's friends choose to use this teacher as a scapegoat to divert attention away from their own misconduct. The hapless boy is put under enormous pressure to speak out against his teacher and is forced to make a serious choice.
With remarkable subtlety, Oates depicts this teenage boy's evolving consciousness. You follow how he suddenly becomes aware of himself as a physical presence in the world. The author expresses in the narrative the way that he is unable to articulate his own feelings and thoughts about people such as the girl he is romantically involved with and events such as the ride home with the teacher. Oates skilfully explores the male psyche in Sexy like she did in the accomplished novels What I Lived For and Wonderland, but in a much more compressed form. This novel would make a wonderful start for growing readers who can then continue on to delve into a rich range of adult novels by the same author.