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Dance, Recover, Repeat by Alasdair Duncan
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Dance, Recover, Repeat

by Alasdair Duncan

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593304,472 (3.29)None
From an edgy new voice comes a frenetic novel about boredom, porn, and pills. Brandishing a unique, comic worldview, Alasdair Duncan assembles a surprising, devastating narrative using dialogue, emails, Internet chats, fantasies, notebook entries, blips from video games, and more. Calvin is sixteen and bored with suburban life. But in the city, things are altogether more exciting. It's there that Calvin meets Anthony -- and the two boys quickly become obsessed with each other. Then Calvin discovers pictures of Anthony on a pornographic website and is drawn into his new friend's seedy underworld. Just as he's discovering what's like when first love meets first sex, when friendship meets lust, and when love meets loss, his teen angst morphs into full-on self-destructivness...and puts him on the path to an absolutely shocking series of events. With total command of the world he creates for his characters -- in which the computer is just another pill you can pop, another way to run and hide, like drinking or drugging or having sex -- Alsdair Duncan makes an auspicious debut.… (more)

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Calvin is your typical disaffected suburban teen, passing the time doing as many drugs and getting as much sex as he can. After an internet friend sends Calvin pornographic photos of himself, Calvin becomes obsessed with the other, unknown boy in the photographs. Then at a party, he meets the boy from the photographs, who's name is Anthony...

I'm not sure what I think of this book except to say that I wish the main character Calvin would get some therapy. I worry about him. That said, I thought he was quite realistic, a teenage boy with no real problems other than the fact that he analyzes and overthinking everything as he searching for meaning and feeling in a life that seems meaning life, where he can't feel anything.
He desperately wants to feel something to connect to people, but all his relationships are superficial and numb, especially with all the many boys he hooks up with.

Anthony tells him the key to getting through life is being able to 'take yourself of the equation' i.e retreat so deep into yourself that you're not connected to what's happening to you. Calvin is both drawn to and terrified by the idea of being able to do that.

I'm not really sure what the moral of the story is here, or whether Calvin learns or changes in anyway. All I know is that apparently you need to have as much sex with as many people as you can while you're still young and hot and people want you, because after that life is meaningless.

It's a theme reiterated by almost every single character, but I can't tell if the author approves of the idea or not. I actually don't know what the author was trying to do with this story, a although he was 22 when he wrote it, which may explain things.

The style was interesting: it included e-mails, IM conversations, dialogue format, paragraph's from the main character's note book, etc. Sometimes it worked for me, sometimes it didn't. Often a conversation is interspersed with paragraphs of observation of what's going on (for example, what Pack-man is doing on the video game screen). I got the feeling that these paragraphs were supposed to be symbolic in some way, but I mostly ended up skimming them to get back to the conversation going on.

( )
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
Calvin is your typical disaffected suburban teen, passing the time doing as many drugs and getting as much sex as he can. After an internet friend sends Calvin pornographic photos of himself, Calvin becomes obsessed with the other, unknown boy in the photographs. Then at a party, he meets the boy from the photographs, who's name is Anthony...

I'm not sure what I think of this book except to say that I wish the main character Calvin would get some therapy. I worry about him. That said, I thought he was quite realistic, a teenage boy with no real problems other than the fact that he analyzes and overthinking everything as he searching for meaning and feeling in a life that seems meaning life, where he can't feel anything.
He desperately wants to feel something to connect to people, but all his relationships are superficial and numb, especially with all the many boys he hooks up with.

Anthony tells him the key to getting through life is being able to 'take yourself of the equation' i.e retreat so deep into yourself that you're not connected to what's happening to you. Calvin is both drawn to and terrified by the idea of being able to do that.

I'm not really sure what the moral of the story is here, or whether Calvin learns or changes in anyway. All I know is that apparently you need to have as much sex with as many people as you can while you're still young and hot and people want you, because after that life is meaningless.

It's a theme reiterated by almost every single character, but I can't tell if the author approves of the idea or not. I actually don't know what the author was trying to do with this story, a although he was 22 when he wrote it, which may explain things.

The style was interesting: it included e-mails, IM conversations, dialogue format, paragraph's from the main character's note book, etc. Sometimes it worked for me, sometimes it didn't. Often a conversation is interspersed with paragraphs of observation of what's going on (for example, what Pack-man is doing on the video game screen). I got the feeling that these paragraphs were supposed to be symbolic in some way, but I mostly ended up skimming them to get back to the conversation going on.

( )
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
Reviewed by hoopsielv for TeensReadToo.com

Calvin is a sixteen-year-old whose life revolves around video games, drugs, and clubs. He's had sexual relationships with more than a few guys yet has never been in love. He meets Jeremy online and is introduced into the world of gay porn. He sees Anthony's video and becomes obsessed with him. He's got to actually meet him in person.

They see each other on the dance floor and things progress that night.

Calvin sees Anthony as a blank canvas and it bothers him. Is there more to him than just sex? He tells Calvin that he's not really there while his photos and videos are taken. He says, "Take yourself out of the equation." This seems very complicated to Calvin and he searches to find the meaning of those words.

This novel was an intriguing look into the life of a gay teenager. Calvin seemed like he constantly wanted more than what he was getting, yet wasn't sure how to find it. Readers should be aware that this book does contain sexually graphic passages. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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