Author: Ryan Collins
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Justin Taggart doesn’t know anything (about being a loser). He likes girls and plays sports and has some friends. Unfortunately his fear of rejection outweighs his ability to deal with these well. Mostly there’s Sterling, the girl of his dreams who knows how to stop his heart by not knowing he likes her. Another thing is trying to get money with Adam, who’s rich anyway so it’s more about hanging out. As for Justin, he makes ends meet by mowing people’s yards with Adam, and sometimes by breaking into vending machines and selling late-night cable programming to peers (also with Adam). But it’s not like he doesn’t feel bad about it, since Jesus died for his sins. School is pretty terrible with all the work and practice, but there are a few people there worth mentioning. Anyone who picks up his journal will be in for something, if they feel like getting through a lot of grammar and spelling problems. They’ll probably end up seeing that they shouldn’t have looked at it anyway, because this is someone’s private anthem of girls, grass, and loserdom.
Justin Taggart is your average teenage boy. He goes to school, plays football and has an after school landscaping business with his best friend, Adam. He likes girls, one in particular, but they don't seem to like him. Narrative Loserdom is the story of a year in Justin's life, told in his own words through journal entries.
When I first read the synopsis of Narrative Loserdom, I was definitely intrigued. Having never been a teenage boy myself, I have always been curious to see how their minds work. Justin is a likable character, funny and a little clueless. He works hard at his landscaping job and treats his parents with respect. I found most of the characters likable, in fact, except for Lia, a friend of Justin's. Lia is constantly picking on Justin, and even though I think I may have known why, we don't ever get to know for sure. I think a lot more could have been done with this part of the story.
As for the writing, I didn't have a hard time with the typos and incorrect usage of words like I usually would since this is supposed to be a journal. I did feel at times though that a teenage boy wouldn't necessarily talk the way Justin did. One minute he is talking like a teenager would, the next he is throwing around vocabulary that just didn't sound natural. But the story was otherwise very easy to read, funny and was quick paced.
While I did enjoy the interactions between Justin and his friends, I would have liked to have gotten a better glimpse at their lives. We are given quite a bit of detail when it came to their city, like driving directions that at times were too much, but not a lot of Justin's daily life with his parents or other kids at school. I also would have liked to read more about the relationship between Justin and his crush, Sterling. We only hear about a few interactions with her, yet we are to believe that he is in love with her. I would have liked more detail into their conversations.
My major concern while reading Narrative Loserdom was the religious aspect. When I first was approached to read and review this book, the first thing I did was look at the synopsis. While it did mention Jesus, I couldn't find any other mentions of the religious aspect of the book in any reviews. I have to be honest here and tell you that I am absolutely not a fan of religious fiction or religion at all. So that is why I had done research before agreeing to a review. Up until about seventy percent through the story, there was very little religious talk. I can handle a little, no problem. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, views and beliefs. Unfortunately, all of a sudden Justin became very religious and God was a topic of nearly every journal entry. At this point, I really couldn't connect with Justin anymore. I found it hard to believe that he could be so worried about Adam's soul when he was also committing quite a few sins himself.
As a whole, I hard a hard time with this book. Had it not taken the religious turn, I think really would have enjoyed it. This is my own personal view though, so please do not take this as negative towards the book itself. If the religious aspect doesn't affect you one way or another you and are looking for a funny, quick read, please give this a go. I really do believe that this series could become something special.