The Compulsive Reader: Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

Mike and his friends Bones, Mixer, and Tommy are unconcerned slackers, put in remedial classes and not really concerned with doing well in school. They aren't really too worked up when Tommy just disappears after a humiliating incident in math class--they figure he'll return on his own time. But then their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, in attempting to teach them Crime and Punishment, says and does some seriously strange things that make Mike suspect that he might have something to do with Tommy abrupt disappearance--that he might have in fact killed him. Now Mike takes it upon himself to try and decode the meaning of Mr. Haberman's words and actions to discover what really happened to Tommy.

Gentlemen is a very unique and gritty book. Mike and his friends are open about their lack of ambition and talk frankly about drugs, alcohol, and sex. They're the people that we all know of in society, but rarely are their points of view told. Gentlemen delves into their lives as Mike and his friends try to find the truth about Tommy's disappearance, coming up with guess after guess. Crime and Punishment is used a lot in the novel, but by no means do you have to be familiar with it to understand what is going on. It helps keep things moving as Mike refers to it again and again in his quest for the truth, and provides the reader with some interesting insights. There are also some interesting views on friendship, how Mike and his friends interact, and when you come to the point in a relationship that you are friends because you've known each other for such a long time, not because you truly know or understand the other person. Overall, Gentlemen is a unique and chilling novel that examines not only morals and crimes, but the darkness that may exist in any one person, making for a unique and thoughtful book that reluctant readers will be able to enjoy.

Cover Comments: Well, I didn't quite understand what was on this cover until I saw it in person: a body bag. Which, now that I think about it, is a bit fitting. The over is chilling, the book is chilling. Still, this is one of the more daring covers I've seen. I kind of like it.

Review copy received from Scholastic.


Anonymous said...

Creepy cover...

-t. fisk

Lenore said...

Looking forward to this one! Especially since I read Crime and Punishment a couple of months ago.

Donna Gambale said...

I'm a HUGE fan of this cover, and especially with how it contrasts with the title. Definitely chilling!

Dannie said...

I REALLY want to read this one. It looks like a hugely profound exploration of a subculture we tend to brush aside.

YA said...

I love this cover. I think cover art for the YA genre is becoming a lot more edgy. It's very intriguing.

Definitely want to read this one.