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The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C. K.…
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The Lighter Side of Life and Death

by C. K. Kelly Martin

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Showing 5 of 5
A page-turner I was happy to curl up and live inside for a few days. Full of vibrant, diverse (yay!) characters, it felt like high school. Martin captures a teenage boy's voice perfectly--I know boys like Mason and totally fell for him. It was also a book which sparked a lot of questions. Even though it's all about relationships and sex, it would be ideal to discuss with a kid, or, even better, for kids to discuss with each other. It's frank and brave enough that it might empower teenagers to share their honest thoughts. ( )
  annemlanderson | Mar 31, 2013 |
To say I’m slightly conflicted about this book is a huge understatement. I finished it yesterday, and I’ve been thinking how I feel about the content and the characters since then, so I’ll warn you now, my comments below are unorganized and might be borderline ranting... just so you know... Okay, who am I kidding... it’s a rant... full blown rant.

First of all, I’m giving it three stars because I liked the narrator of this story. Mason is a sixteen year old junior in high school, who I feel is likeable, down-to-earth, and unabashedly honest. Well that’s about all I liked about the book. No really, everything else pretty much sucked. Let me prove it to you...

Mason’s two best friends are total *insert bad word*. I couldn’t stand Jamie and how quickly he abandoned Mason after a decision that was really none of his business. It pissed be off that Jamie guilt tripped Mason over something he would have done IN.A.HEARTBEAT. What happened between Mason and Kat is something that Jamie should have just let go and be there for his friend when he needed him. Period, end of story.

Now Kat... Ugh! I hate to stereo-type because I’m sooo not like that at all, but come on! She acted like a typical guy. After what went down between her and Mason, you’d think she’d return his calls or be half-way decent towards him. I couldn’t stand her for the rest of the story and seeing him give her a second chance at the end was pretty disappointing. Mason you deserve better than Kat, you really do! One more thing… first time??? One word.. *whispers* liar. That experience for you was pulled out of a typical bodice ripper romance novel and we all know… so not true how it really goes. Boo to that.

Colette was a piece of work. OMG woman!! You hooked up with a sixteen year old boy. Yes, a boy! I don’t care what state or country this is set in, that just feels, looks and smells criminal. You knew he was just coming off of a huge let down and just needed to carve a little space to feel cared about. The answer is not to take advantage of that. Boo to you! Boo! Boo! I’m so glad Mason deleted her final voice mail and decided to move on because that woman deserved to be ignored and shunned for what she did.

Mason’s family... one word... WORTHLESS. The poor guy confesses to his father what he did and all his dad could focus on is Mason apologizing to Brianna for calling her out on being a beeyotch. Umm *taps dad on the shoulder* your SIXTEEN year old son just told you he hooked up with an older woman and he obviously wants to talk about it, putting it off till tomorrow because that would be a “better time” is a load of crap! Oh and stepmom… *taps stepmom on the shoulder* your older friend just took advantage of your stepson and the best you can do is give him the stink eye? Ugh! You guys suck. Boo to all of you, except for Burke.

Well, you can read the overview to see what this book is about and I blame myself for still reading this because I knew the theme sounded a bit too controversial for my taste but as always my morbid curiosity took over and landed me in fictional hell. Don’t think I can recommend this book, but I don’t regret reading it because it got me one book closer to my reading challenge for 2011. That is all...

PS. I actually went back and deleted about 20 of these !!!!!!!!!!!! ( )
  SarleneS | Jun 27, 2011 |
Told from the first person point of view of Mason, Martin has effectively captures the hurt and betrayal Mason feels when he loses his virginity to his best friend, Kat and the friendship comes to end when she wants nothing to do with him. A unique book about first love that both teen boys and girls will enjoy. ( )
  kreierso | Nov 7, 2010 |
Sixteen year old Mason has just experienced the best night of his life. He has flawlessly pulled off his role in the closing night of his play, he had an awesome cast part, AND he just lost his v-card to his best friend, Kat. However, we all know the book would totally suck if his life stayed perfect. This is the part where we cue the conflict. Turns out, Kat doesn't quite know how to handle that night.

What results in The Lighter Side of Life and Death is an honest, gripping portrayal of growing up and burgeoning sexuality for a teenage boy. Examined is the difference between love and lust, which I guess may appear in similar clothing a whole lot of the time, so it is easy to confuse one for the other. I really appreciated that C.K. Kelly Martin wasn't afraid to go the full monty, it made the book's impact so much more larger on me.

As far as characters voices go, Mason has a distinctive voice. You can tell he's this easy going guy, yet he struggles over these issues which aren't exactly life and death, but certainly feel that way when you are sixteen. I loved how Martin portrays that teenage egotism perfectly. Let's face it, when you are a kid you are the center of your universe. Some of us grow out of that, some of us don't. I'm not even sure I've grown out of that.

I don't think I would hesitate to give this book to a teenager who is coming to grips with their hormones. This book is short, it's a fast read, yet it is non-judgmental of the decisions the characters make. Mason is never punished for what he decides. I guess what I am trying to say is I love this book for the fact that it isn't superficial, that it just seems to get it. Ya know? ( )
  booksandwine | Sep 9, 2010 |
Closing night of his school theatre’s performance, Mason’s life seems to be falling into place perfectly. It’s a great performance, with a wonderful afterparty, and to top it all off, he loses his virginity with Kat, his best friend whom he has always kind of had a crush on.

Unfortunately, Kat starts acting strange towards him, wanting to pretend like nothing happened. Confused and hurt, Mason turns to someone new he meets: a 23-year-old friend of the family named Colette. Mason can hardly believe that Colette wants him as well, but as attraction fails to blot out other issues in both of their lives, Mason is forced to evaluate his actions, what he really wants, and what is worth it.

C.K. Kelly Martin’s third novel, THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH, is a nuanced tale of the complexities of contemporary romance. It doesn’t quite have the punch and memorability I seek in contemporary realistic fiction, but it will nevertheless find fans among those who like their love stories quieter and subtler.

I adore Mason, the protagonist, in a way that is less than adulation but more than pleasant enjoyment. He is the realest boy I have read about in a long time, with typical male desires for female attention and a conflict-free lifestyle, but with the determination to get through the hardest parts of his life with as much dignity and open-mindedness as possible. As I was reading I kept thinking, YES, this is how a boy thinks! even though I clearly have no personal experience—but it felt right, the way C.K. Kelly Martin portrayed Mason’s thought processes.

The two girls, Kat and Colette, were less fleshed out than I would’ve liked, paling in the shadows of Mason’s three-dimensionality. Mason likes to say that Kat is adorable and alluring, but I never really saw her being as cool as he described her to be. Mason spends a lot more time and space in the book with Colette, and so I can understand her conflicts a bit more, and their affair works for me despite its unconventionality and taboo implications.

Overall, THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH didn’t take me by surprise or anything, but it was still a smooth read that I was invested in while I was reading it. C.K. Kelly Martin will either strike the perfect chord with your contemporary fiction desires, or else be a nevertheless intriguing book that was obviously skillfully written. ( )
1 vote stephxsu | Aug 12, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375845887, Hardcover)

Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After the last, triumphant night of the school play, fifteen-year-old Mason loses his virginity to his good friend and secret crush, Kat Medina, which leads to enormous complications at school just as his home life is thrown into turmoil by his father's marriage to a woman with two children.… (more)

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