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That's Not a Feeling by Dan Josefson
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That's Not a Feeling

by Dan Josefson

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I loved the title of this book, and I wanted to love the book itself, but I found that I could not get excited about or invested in it. The cast of characters become more familiar, but they don't really develop, and many of them are liars so the reader doesn't get to know them well.

The world of the school, Roaring Orchards, is evoked successfully, from the dying headmaster/mastermind Aubrey to the confused teachers and dorm parents, the troubled students and the bizarre rules and vocabulary.

The narrative style is somewhat unique: it's first-person omniscient, but there is no way that the narrator - Benjamin, a student at the school - could know the things he knows. He is clearly narrating from a future point in time, so we know he makes it to adulthood, but that is all we know about his adult life.

Overall, I had the faint nagging feeling while I was reading this that I would rather be reading something else instead. The writing is very good, and I would try this author again, but this particular book didn't do it for me.

Quotes

The girls knew nothing would come of arguing. At the school one thing followed from the last like the logic of a bad dream... (22)

Ellie marched out of the Mansion, blind as a fist. (69)

While no one was paying attention, autumn had broken summer's back. (70)

"Like they have two homes, and they go where they need to be to take care of themselves." (Tidbit, 92)
"Those ducks' issue," [said Pudding], "was they were looking for a geographical solution to an emotional problem." (Pudding, 93)

For as long as I could remember, I had suffered under the delusion that if I were only good enough, or quiet enough, I would somehow be allowed to return to a time in my life when things were all right. All right with myself, and all right with my family, and I would be able to proceed from that moment on. But that night I understood that an iron gate had been shut behind me, that each passing day was another gate slamming shut, and that there was no way back and never would be. (123-124)

She had no idea why she did things like that. She really was trying to be good. It was like some kind of voodoo the school did. Trying to be good there turned you into the most awful person in the world. (125)

Each one of us, Aaron thought, was going the very first thing that came into his head. (135)

...at Roaring Orchards...pain took on an aspect of glamour. (191)

The school, [Aubrey] felt, existed in his head as much as it existed in the world. Or, rather, it could only exist in the world because it first existed in his head. (195)

"I don't know why they keep us on so many meds," I said when Jodi had left. "We're not sick, we're just sad."
"Speak for yourself," Tidbit said. (202)

...his life seemed to have become a series of disappointing compromises. (Aubrey, 216)

It was like the cuts were supposed to be arrows pointing to the thing that made you upset enough to make them. But with her, there was nothing where the arrows were pointing, just a blank. (Laurel, 222)

"The real question," [Dedrick] said, "is why aren't the rest of us crying all the time." (230)

These were some of the nicest people she knew. It was true that there was something strange about people who stayed at Roaring Orchards, something dependent and passive, but there was also something genuinely sweet about them. You couldn't stay at the school long if you were judgmental. You couldn't stay there long if you were selfish. (Doris, 231)

"You simply can't seem to come to terms with life's ordinary happiness. Or even for that matter with life's ordinary unhappiness. No, you all seem to be after a rather extraordinary unhappiness." (Aubrey to students, 276)

"I'm so disgusted with myself, really, every word out of my mouth's a lie." (Aubrey, 278)

"You children think you'll have plenty of time, that life will be lenient and filled with second chances because you're so adorable. And you are, but you won't always be. Time moves in one direction, and each time you fuck up, you've fucked up forever." (Aubrey, 279)

"...what we imagine has profound and measurable consequences." (Ken, 303)

[Ellie] remembered thinking once...that her real life was waiting for her somewhere. Ellie had thought she would one day simply step back into it. The idea seemed worse than idiotic to her now. But she saw how someone who thought like that would have gotten herself where she was. (309) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 27, 2014 |
I enjoyed the adventures at The Roaring Orchards School for Troubled Teens. I feel like... That's Not a Feeling, I believe that That's Not a Feeling is a wild ride that leaves one pondering questions and issues brought up. ( )
  sar96 | Jan 2, 2014 |
I enjoyed the adventures at The Roaring Orchards School for Troubled Teens. I feel like... That's Not a Feeling, I believe that That's Not a Feeling is a wild ride that leaves one pondering questions and issues brought up. ( )
  sar96 | Jan 2, 2014 |
I had no idea there were so many different kinds of puppets. There is a whole paragraph listing them and I think it was very prevalent to the characters the way anything was prevalent to anything at all in this book. A lot of small details to leave or take, and I took them all happily. Everything didn't have to connect, it just was there. I liked that about this book especially since it does take place in a sort of step up from a psych ward but a loony bin nevertheless where I pictured everything very easily and in my teen years could have been there myself. Just like the other puppets. ( )
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is a difficult review to write, because this is a difficult novel to describe. Set in Roaring Orchards, a residential group home for wayward teens, it’s narrated by 16-year-old Benjamin, who finds himself unexpectedly deposited at Roaring Orchards by his parents. Benjamin is clearly an unreliable narrator, as we get events not only from his perspective, but he also narrates from the perspective of the staff and other residents, during experiences for which he wasn’t actually present. So, we can’t be sure how much of his account is accurate, but somehow this didn’t affect the impact of the story for me.

Roaring Orchards is an insular world, founded by Aubrey, who has developed his own system of working with the teens that he teaches to his staff, who for the most part follow without question. Both odd and charismatic, Aubrey is also ill, and as his health deteriorates, so does the structure at the school; staff, some of whom seem caught in perpetual adolescence themselves, find themselves in precarious situations with “their” kids that have both hilarious and heartbreaking outcomes.

Written in a tone that is sometimes sardonic, sometimes forgiving, and sometimes hilarious (I laughed out loud on several occasions reading this), this is a book that is rich, funny, sad, deep, vulnerable, dark, silly, and unfailingly original. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like it, and I enjoyed it immensely. ( )
  Litfan | Dec 29, 2012 |
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Abandoned in a therapeutic boarding school in upstate New York, 16-year-old suicide survivor Benjamin endures a turbulent environment dominated by scheduled medication, emotionally arrested caregivers and a brilliant but raging headmaster whose sudden illness throws the school into turmoil.… (more)

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