Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Year in Books 2012 - Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich

It is a story that has been told a few times before but no one has told it quite as well as Simon Rich.
Seymour is your typical high school loser , whose weekly hope is that he doesn't end up in detention due to being bullied by Lance the all american jock, or if he does that he shares it with Jessica, the uniform flouting cheerleader. His social life revolves around a weekly game of monopoly with his parents. In short he is the minor character in 100s of American teen movies

Then one day new boy Elliot Allagash , heir to the Allagash fortune , decides to push him down the stairs to test the school disciplinary processes. Elliot then takes Seymour on as a pet project and soon has him on the basketball team , becoming class president, getting into Harvard and becoming the most popular boy in school.

However as the schemes get more and more outlandish , the plans more and more complex, Seymour begins to wonder if this is really everything he wants and we begin to realise that Elliot needs Seymour much more than Seymour needs Elliot.

In Elliot , Simon Rich has created one classic character, utterly manipulative, ruthless, spoilt and totally lacking any kind of empathy. As Seymour spends time with Elliot's father and we hear tale after tale of the Allagash family history , we start to get an idea of what has made Elliot the way he is.

At its heart it is a classic morality tale, however it is told with such smart dialogue, dark humour and quirky plotting that the whole thing zips along at a joyous rate. At 200 pages the book doesn't outstay its welcome. I can't wait to see what Simon Rich does next as this is one of the most enjoyable debuts I've read in a long time 

Apparently a film version is already in the pipeline by the director of Juno and Up in the Air

You can buy Elliot Allagash here


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