Amy and Roger’s … ‘Epic’ … ‘Detour’. There are so many things wrong with the title alone. The word ‘epic’ for instance, suggests the ‘heroic deeds’ and ‘serious subjects’ that are found in the lengthy narrative poems such as Beowulf or Homer’s Odyssey. It may just be me, but I could find neither of these in this story. After all, what heroic deeds can one find in a book that is—at its most basic—about a boy hunting down his ex-girlfriend, along with a girl who refuses to drive, refuses to talk about why she won’t drive, and who refuses to accept that the boy she hasn’t seen since she was a child, is still hung up over his ex-girlfriend and isn’t interested in her. This leads me nicely onto my next problem: the word ‘detour’. Roger uses the route-change to follow his ex-girlfriend around: first to where he thinks she’s taking summer courses, then to her home in Kentucky. It’s here that one begins to be reminded of the term ‘stalking’, where someone follows another individual around without their knowledge or permission. In romantic books and films this is often seen as a symbol of ‘true love’. In all other situations it is seen as creepy and illegal. As the term also includes multiple cases of unwanted contact—something Roger openly talks about—his infatuation with the unseen Hadley certainly seems suspicious.
I could go on about the title, but I feel like it may be getting a little boring.
On to the book. I’m actually writing this section several months after actually reading it, and as I refuse to further besmirch my school library history by borrowing it again, I’m just going to have to try and recall that which I had previously attempted to banish from my mind. You know the feeling. You’ve finished reading this god-awful excuse for a book, and all you really want to do is forget it, but for some reason you want to share your pain with the world. I didn’t even want to read it in the first place, but I did a deal with a friend: I would read it if she read An Abundance of Katherines. Only one of us completed our end of the bargain. So there I was, having devoted maybe a day to reading what in my opinion equated to word vomit that snuck past the editor, and now I couldn’t delete the memory. ‘So,’ I said to myself. ‘You should definitely share this with the world so that they can avoid your suffering.’ Yes, I talk to myself. No, I don’t do it when there is anyone within one hundred metres of me because I don’t actually want to avoid human company that much. I’m getting off topic.
I didn’t enjoy it.
It was actually the perfect specimen of chick lit, and I’m sure that if they-heaven forbid-decided to make a film out of it, it would be immensely popular, but I take great pleasure in not falling victim to public opinion. Just to be clear: I don’t go out of my way to hate anything that happens to be popular-you saw my film review on The Fellowship of the Ring-but I do generally enter the world of teen fiction with a wary attitude and a clear route should I need to make a hasty retreat. I do actually have several books which I adore, which are teen fiction, but I would never buy a book just because it’s popular.
Amy and Roger’s Epic[?] Detour[?] had all the ingredients. Girl with a past? Check. Brooding male main character with amusing friends? Check. Happy ending? Check. A lot of time without any adults for the two characters to bond? Check. There are more things that I could list, but honestly, who wants to hear/read them? Thought not. If you could put writing tropes in a cauldron and get a book out of it, I’m certain that this would come out at some point. And maybe that’s what the problem was. It was predictable, and it was fairly boring. Amy herself was a complete Mary Sue, complete with a ‘nice’ personality and a horrible past that she can’t admit to herself, and although Roger wasn’t entirely perfect, he was essentially the kind of boyfriend I think most girls dream of. I don’t, by the way; I prefer personality and I’m not sure that Roger actually had much of one. I also prefer the more classical character to fall in love with-Mr Darcy anyone?-and I’m a sucker for dark hair. I’m not a fan of blonds. Sorry-that seems a little judgemental and hair-ist, it’s just that every male character (films and books) I’ve fallen in love with happens to have either dark brown or black hair.
I keep getting off topic. If you’ve stayed reading for this long, then don’t fear-the end is in sight.
Overall, I found it to be predictable and not to my taste at all, but if that’s your thing then who am I to criticise? Go ahead-read it. The worst it can do is make you write an 800 word review on it, and post it on a blog for the unsuspecting people of Internet to come across.