Tampa by Alissa Nutting is not a book for everyone. In fact, it might not be a book that you even want to read. It’s rated 3.33 on Goodreads.
But I’m giving this weirdly uncomfortable book 4 stars. Why? Because only great writers make you feel REALLY uncomfortable with the topic you are reading about.
Let me explain. . .
Celeste is a (fictional) teacher in Tampa, Florida. She’s 26, gorgeous, married to a wealthy handsome man, and is so excited to start teaching English!
Why is she so excited? She wants to sleep with a fourteen-year-old male student and she can’t wait to meet “the one,” who turns out to be her student, Jack.
This book is sexually explicit. Which isn’t always a problem for people (For example, 50 Shade of Twilight Fan Fiction crap that was a bestseller. Seriously, it’s Twilight Fan Fiction. Google it if you don’t believe me.).
In Tampa, there IS a problem with the sexual explicitness: it’s with a 14-year-old and a 26-year-old. And it makes you feel REALLY uncomfortable.
But Alissa Nutting did a good job writing this book to make you feel that way on purpose. Eliciting a reaction (positive or negative) out of your readers is a goal of writing, and no one can deny that Alissa did that well.
I gobbled up Tampa, felt very disturbed by Celeste, but would read another book by Alissa Nutting in a heartbeat.
Not-really-related side note: In one short scene in the novel, Celeste and her husband are on the phone, and Celeste says, “Isn’t it against the law to be on your phone while you drive?” Her husband responds, “Not while you’re driving the cop car, sweets.” Just FYI for all of you, it’s not against the law to be on your cell phone (or text) in Florida while driving.
I even contacted Alissa on Twitter to let her know. . . (and she contacted me back!)
So, is this book for you or is it one you will skip?