RandomAuthor Lesley Choyce ISBN 9780889954434 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Red Deer Press Inc Publication Date October 08, 2010 Size 133 x 184 mm
Selected as 2011 White Ravens Title
"If you think life makes sense, do not read this book."
It's this credo that sixteen-year-old Joe Campbell lives by. You see, his birth parents were killed in a car accident, and four years later he's still trying to work his way past that loss. His new parents are as supportive and loving as he could wish. But Joe is still trying to figure out whether there is any pattern or purpose to his existence, and remains doubtful that there is an answer.
Yet all around him patterns and purposes gradually take shape, and this compelling novel traces the thought processes and the people that eventually make a difference in Joe's life. The story is of Joe's digging into his past, and looking around the present, as he seeks to make sense of the world. But it's not a solitary quest as his good friends Gloria and Dean - both outsiders in the high school they all attend - accompany him on this quest for meaning.
Random will resonate with many teenagers who, to a greater or lesser extent, find themselves besieged by doubt and speculation about their places in the world.
"The story has plenty of dramatic activity. . . What many teens may enjoy even more than the plot specifics, though, is Joseph's unpretentious search for meaning that emerges from his "random thoughts," which range from Malthus to Buddhism to Aristotle to his namesake, Joseph Campbell, who, in describing the mythic hero's perilous journey, articulates what may feel like coming-of-age concerns for many teens."
"Random is an incredible book. Its non-linearity mirrors the way that memory works: you hear a song, see someone who reminds you of someone else, and suddenly, you are catapulted back to a past event. As for the present, Joe's observations about high school life are wry, witty, and absolutely accurate. With Joseph Campbell, Lesley Choyce offers readers a young male character who is complex, intelligent, and (dare I say it,) sensitive. But there is more to this book than its being yet another story of "teen angst." It's a story about genuine friendship, about making sense out of nonsense, and about coming to terms with the randomness of it all.
"Random is a "must-buy" book for high school libraries, and an absolute "mustread" for those young male readers out there who are "intelligent, sensitive, wellread" (and Lesley Choyce has written other books with similar protagonists). If these young men are not well-read, this may start them on the road! Oh, sure the book contains some random profanities, but they're comparatively mild (no f-bombs) and they fit the context of 16-year-old high school boy-speak.
"Random-make it a deliberate acquisition!
— CM Magazine
In Joseph, Lesley Choyce gives readers a thoughtful, questioning narrator who asserts from the very beginning that he believes that life has no meaning and yet who is clearly searching for that very meaning. Although the death of his biological parents was the traumatic event that most evidently shaped his life thus far, the book manages to avoid the drama and angst that one might have expected. Instead, Choyce offers readers the opportunity to follow Joseph through the mundane ordinary events of his life, past and present, and to witness the realizations that he comes to through the course of his journey. It is a book that will hold the greatest appeal for more philosophical-minded teens and those who also find themselves asking big questions.
--Atlantic Books Today
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