The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Book: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Series: N/A
Pages: 312
Publisher: Knopf Books
Date Published: January 8th, 2013
Source: Library
Start Date: November 19th, 2013
End Date: November 22nd, 2013


Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their love.

So I have to say that this book was a little different than the books I have been reading lately. But it was a nice change. I’ve been reading books that were dystopian, fantasy, or somewhat just outside the realm of our reality. The Tragedy Paper is a book that many people can relate to in some way or another and I think that quality makes a great book.

The main character, Tim, is an albino. Now, I know that its hard for a lot of people to imagine what being an albino is like, especially when it comes to the medical aspects, but I think this characteristic is more symbolic than anything. Tim being an albino represents the insecurities that we feel about ourselves. I’m sure, that all of us, at some point or another, have felt like an outcast or have had doubts about ourselves. Its all a part of being human. With that being said, readers can easily relate and get sucked into the book. The other main character, Duncan, represents the regrets that we feel. The things that can weigh on your conscience.

With that being said, I was expecting something bigger to happen. I think I might be a little jaded from all the fantasy and dystopian novels I have been reading, and so I was setup to expect a major tragic and society changing ending. But I think it was nice to be reminded that tragedies can occur to us individually and don’t have to necessarily affect an entire group of people. This reminded me that these individual tragedies can still have life altering effects and can, in fact, be lonely. This book reminds us of the uphill battles that some of us have to fight everyday.

With the ending of the book, I wish I knew what happened to Tim and Vanessa more extensively. It appeared that their lives just continued to go on after the tragedy happened. But I feel as though that there had to be something much deeper happening there. Duncan was able to have his happy ending, even though I believe he was all worked up over nothing. Tim and Vanessa deserved something much more in depth, and Patrick deserved to be punished. But I guess this speaks to real life more than anything. Tragedies happen, and people move on with their lives, and those who are responsible are never forced to answer for their actions. Speaking of Patrick, I was hoping that his ulterior motives would have become more apparent, because I always had a sneaky suspicion about him. It was never answered, and it just made things confusing at the end. I guess I felt that I didn’t really have any real closure with the ending of this book.

I didn’t really plan out this review too well, and it might seem confusing as to who the characters were, and what was really going on in the book. I think this book is just one of those books that you have to read in order to really understand what the tragedy really was in this book. This book was too familiar for me, and brought up some weird memories from when I was younger, and I think thats why I’m having trouble making sense of what really happened in the book. With that said, I would recommend this book, if you’re willing to deal with the ever looming downhill approach to the story and the unanswered questions left at the end.


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