Friday, September 03, 2010

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson

When Darren finds out that his older brother and his friends have beat up Eric, Darren's new and only real friend, the two boys decide to Halloween prank the older delinquents. The problem is, Darren and Eric are only armed with a carton of eggs, cheese slices, a rope, and a can of wood stain. "It looks like we're going to make an omelet, rappel through somebody's window, and serve it to them." Not exactly a stunning prank for two off-beat kids with a gift for penning an elaborate comic/graphic novel/movie/tv-series-which-will -hopefully-blow-open-the-sci-fi-genre. The attempt at "normalcy" is hilarious.

Nerdy loners, the two boys form an instant bond over their common interests and inability to mesh with their fellow high schoolers. A bond so strong that Eric decides to confide in Darren. "I can't sleep," he says, "And I don't have to." Physically unable to enter dreamland, even after the boys experiment with psychotropic substances, Eric believes he's finally found someone to share his wakefulness.

This "thing" Eric has fascinates Darren. Eric will deny it, but he has a "power," and Darren believes if not sleeping is possible, so many other things could be too. Including the possibility that Christine, a smart, funny, and pretty girl, could like and want to date Darren. But, maybe that's not always a good thing, as she begins to wedge a rift between the best friends. The end result, Darren exposes his friend to an evil entity, possibly a government agent, who may want to run creepy tests on the boy. They know, they saw E.T.

But, is the entity chasing them really a measly government agent? Or is he really The Man, a nemesis the boys created in their comic, sprung from 2D into real life? Eric may have to admit that his "thing" is a lot more potent than he ever imagined.

Moments of laugh-out-loud funny, coupled with vignettes of remembering the sheer torture of being fifteen, this debut novel from D.C. Pierson is refreshingly original and relevant. More than just a playful sci-fi story for the Millennial generation, The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To touches on rather profound and universal concepts - social acceptance, human interaction, and the power of wishful thinking. "Anything is possible. It always sounded like a dumb cliche that escaped from a Disney movie... but everything is possible, the world is movie-quality like we always hoped it was." And who doesn't want to believe that?

So for a little bit or fun and imagination, I strongly suggest this title. You may also want to watch or rewatch the magic that is E.T. Finally, for similar themes and touching narrative, you may also want to try Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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