Book review of
XL by Scott Brown
Pub Date: 26 Mar 2019
Read courtesy of netgalley.com
I love Scott Brown's writing style: interesting vocabulary, descriptive metaphors, a glimmer of breaking the fourth wall, and a bit of dry, subtle humor. It works. If you don't like being given one of the funniest lines of a movie during a trailer, don't read the next part of this sentence since I'm going to ruin a chuckle for you: car mitzvah, when you turn 16 and get your driver's licence and your parents buy you a car. OK- you can resume reading. I also like that Brown gave me things to ponder, like if are there only two kinds of quests (end of chapter 2).
I do beg to differ with one factoid that seemed to play a large (pun intended) part in the plot; Will says, "Fact. Small things don't live as long." But that's not true; small dogs live longer than big dogs. Just sayin'.
Brown did a nice job of consistently characterizing each of his secondary characters; they had unique personalities. He also did well with his extended metaphor of the gorillas in the zoo at which his father worked with the three-way relationship of Will, Drew, and Monica - the three main characters. In chapter 6 Will's impending experiences are even foreshadowed by the gorilla's behavior. Some symbolism was just a little too obvious, though, like the placement of the necklace given to him by one girl when he was in the presence of another (chapter 12).
I stayed interested in how the conflicts were going to resolve themselves, but I was, unfortunately, slightly disappointed with the unfinished, happy ending. So, they all stay friends, but... What happens to Will and his XL situation? Does Monica, who is a strong character throughout the story, end up compromising her Plan? Now that Drew abandoned his Plan, where does that leave his future? I know... "the best-laid plans of mice and men..."; that's the message in itself. But I'm not sure I've been given enough information about the characters to strongly speculate about their futures. In spite of this, I enjoyed the underlying premise of, "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."