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My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by…
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My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies

by Allen Zadoff

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Ever since Adam's dad died two years ago, he's preferred to be backstage rather than front and center. But when Adam falls for an actor - breaking the techie code - he'll have to decide how much he's willing to risk for the possibility of love. Does Adam have what it takes to stand up when he needs to?

I didn't feel quite connected with Adam as a character and I had to suspend my disbelief to buy that their theater teacher was as absent from the show as he was. It's a fine story, a fine book, but not one that really stands out for me. Try this one on your theater buffs. ( )
  abbylibrarian | Oct 9, 2012 |
High school sophomore Adam Ziegler is content with his behind-the-scenes role as a lighting man for his high school’s theatre company. Ever since his dad died in a car crash two years ago, Adam has stayed out of the spotlight, but this begins to be really difficult as he falls for the new actress, Summer, and gets on the bad side of Derek, the student director. Everyone knows that actors and techies don’t mix…but has Adam finally found the motivation he needs to make his stand?

Allen Zadoff remains a contemporary charmer with his second novel for young adults, MY LIFE, THE THEATER, AND OTHER TRAGEDIES.

As he did in Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have, Zadoff breathes life into subjectively overdone themes like high school isolation and grief with his winningly empathic characters and humorous dialogue. Adam is endearingly geeky and shy. Sometimes his inability to stick up for himself made me want to give him a good hard (well-intentioned) slap, but then watching him grow throughout the book was extremely rewarding. Supporting characters, from Derek the Evil Student Dictator to Reach, Adam’s best friend, are entertaining. And the girls are no Manic Pixie Dream Girls, which can happen sometimes in books with geeky males as main characters: these girls are legit, and they’re nice, but they’re also pretty. Furthermore, MY LIFE, THE THEATER, AND OTHER TRAGEDIES has a dead father, but the grieving process happily does not dominate the plot.

MY LIFE, THE THEATER, AND OTHER TRAGEDIES will appeal to both the seasoned and amateur reader. For a quick and funny yet heartfelt look into the awkward teenage boy’s life, you can’t go wrong with Allen Zadoff. ( )
1 vote stephxsu | Sep 16, 2011 |
My Life, the Theater and Other Tragedies: A Novel by Allen Zadoff 288 pages 8/1/11 pub 2011 This YA novel set amongst the actors and techies at a high school production of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream in Montclair, NJ is very sweet. Sophomore Adam Ziegler’s dad, a painter, died just less than two years ago and since then, where Adam lives is backstage, well, above the stage doing lights, especially the follow spot. He saves the day, and lights the show without lights, when all the power goes out on opening night.
“Are you gay?”
“No.”
So why doews it have to be gay or straight? Can’t it just be, I don’t know, theater-iffic?”
“Theater-iffic?”
“It was the joke in my old school. We used ‘theater’ to describe everything. So stuff was theater-licious, theater- iffic, theater- ificent.”
“Or the opposite. Drama-trocious,” I say. (p. 159)
“All those TV shows about singers and theater people have raised expectations super high in our theater department. People thaink they have to be singing and dancing in perfect synchronization all the time without rehearsal. But real life isn’t synchronized like that. It’s a mess. Like our theater department.” ( )
  anyanwubutler | Aug 3, 2011 |
Many Glee fans will likely see this book in the spotlight at various Gleerific sites and wonder if they'll like the book? My life, the Theater and Other Tragedies is a sweet teen book with some angst moments, but for the most part is aimed at the younger teen audience. Heavy topics are lightened and although various deeper thematic plays, schemes and issues are present, none are weighty. The book is episodic in nature, perhaps a little predictable, but otherwise entertaining. Verses some other young adult/teen reads, this is definitely playing in the kiddy pool. The shallow end is fine if that is what you're looking for and if you're choosing a read for a pre or young teen, this is a safe PG bet. Simply put, I liked it. It's a quick read and holds attention, but did not leave a lasting impression or tug terribly at my heartstrings. However, I think the opportunity was there to delve a bit deeper, but was a touch restrained. However, given the target audience, this is probably an appropriate choice but as I mentioned earlier, older readers might wish to ditch the water wings. ( )
  ccourtland | Jul 25, 2011 |
I think I'm completely in love with Egmont USA. Their 2011 releases are absolutely fantastic and Allen Zadoff's latest is no exception. Filled with humor and insight into the experience of growing up, MLtTaOT (yep, that's the novel's super-long but oh-so-descriptive title condensed) tells the story of Adam Zeigler and his quest to regain control over his life. Ever since his artist father died in a car wreck, Adam's been plagued by nightmares and a crippling fear of the dark. Funny how his fear led him to a job in his high school theater group's lighting department. Of course, his best friend, Reach, might have had a hand in that decision, too.

Up on the catwalk with his precious lights, Adam can observe the world at work, without getting completely involved. Until he meets Grace, a techie who's fallen from grace (pun intended) since she dated actor-cum-student-production-designer Derek, and Summer, the actor who captures his heart. Suddenly, he's on the wrong side of Derek the Wannabe Director and his BFF. The actors think Adam's sabotaging the production but he knows it's Derek and his amazing ego that's blowing things up.

I can totally get behind Adam and his difficulties. He's so affable, so much an everyman that it's almost impossible not to root for him to get the girl, to defeat the bad guy (in this case, it's that arrogant arse, Derek, another great character), and save the entire production. In the beginning, Adam's such a doormat, just lying down and letting everyone, including his best friend, walk all over him. But once he starts to stand up for himself even just the littlest bit, I wanted to give him a standing ovation, just to encourage him.

MLtTaOT is a book you will not want to put down until you've absorbed every last drop of it. A fabulous read. ( )
1 vote BookSwarm | Jul 13, 2011 |
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While working backstage on a high school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," sixteen-year-old Adam develops feelings for a beautiful actress--which violates an unwritten code--and begins to overcome the grief that has controlled him since his father's death nearly two years earlier.… (more)

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