I am pretty sure I know Perry Eckhert, main character of The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini in real life. Friends, I was super nervous to read The Other Normals because I had given it to Tony to read before me, because part of it’s about table top gaming and he was really into that, but he ended up not liking it. Turns out, I have different reading taste from my boyfriend. Who would have thought? Anyways, The Other Normals is all about the weight of the world resting on Perry’s shoulders as he must kiss THE girl in order to save the world. Y’all, this book is incredibly unique, made me cringe, laugh and turn the pages super fast.
Perry Eckhert is totally into this tabletop role play game called Creatures And Caverns — which to me is faintly reminiscent of Warhammer in that people have figurines which I’m pretty sure they paint and there are books about the game and the world in which it is set. As a reader, I have to confess I am quite familiar with these games. Like, I don’t play them at all but my boyfriend did and in college, our roommate played. And like, sometimes I would come home from work and Tony and his little friends would be throwing their funny shaped dice and getting pretty serious over those toys. So, Perry’s obsession is VERY familiar to me. Anyways, I digress. Perry’s parents are totally — ‘PERRY YOU NEED SOCIAL SKILLS, let’s send you to camp.’ And well, Perry dreads camp, they even end up confiscating his figurine and his Other Normals book. Yet, Perry’s wildest dreams come true when he stumbles into the world of his game, the world of the other normals. There he learns the world is in danger and the only way he can save it is by kissing this super popular girl. Too bad he is super awkward.
While I enjoyed reading The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini, I found myself totally cringing over things Perry did multiple times, maybe it’s that I have pretty decent social skills and know how to act around other human being. That stated, I totally know someone who is just like Perry in real life. So, his awkwardness is not too far from the mark. Perry does have a good heart though, and grows and changes throughout the book, however, he’s not exactly the sigh-inspiring type.
What I really liked about The Other Normals was the world building. It’s very much a fantasy light, meaning that it is accessible to contemporary fans as well as fantasy fans. The book starts in New York City, then YAY moves to camp then to the world of the Other Normals. I have to say, I think the camp scenes were very well done. It made me wish that more books included summer camp. I would have liked a little more time in the world of the other normals though.
The pacing of Ned Vizzini’s latest book is pretty tight. The chapters are very short and rarely meander. The book is a very quick read and easy to follow. I was never like ughhhh this book is taking FOREVER to just get to the point, so if you are like me, chances are you’ll dig the rate at which you read The Other Normals.
If you’re looking for a light fantasy to read as maybe a break from your typical contemporary books, definitely get your hands on The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini. It has the advantage of summer camp AND parallel universes. Vizzini’s latest is full of laughs, vicarious cringing and heart.
Disclosure: Received for review
Other reviews of The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini:
Recovering Potter Addict – “ Everything about the world Ned Vizzini created was just silly and ridiculous and brilliant.”
Killin’ Time Reading – “great book for the slightly geeky boy who is into RPGs”
Waking Brain Cells – “Get this into the hands of kids you know who game”