Author: Gerald Nardella
Publish: Dorrance Publishing
The fear and insecurity in growing up in a small town that offers little opportunity and few role models, exacerbated by an uncertain future and pressure by emotions difficult to control, inspired Gerald L. Nardella to write this novel. Life’s struggle can be lonely and painful. Gerald grew up in a small town, experiencing firsthand the insecurities from living in a broken home. Those insecurities still haunt him to this day.
Playing Hurt is a story that is set in American High School of the 60s. The story starts with a long drawn description of football which lasts for the entire chapter. But we get the gist that the protagonist, Brain, wants to talk to his girlfriend after the game. Although the main story line of this book is cliched, the author manages to address some serious issues that affect many teen’s lives like abuse, violence, pregnancy, gender roles, etc.
While I could not relate to the characters or the setting, I could empathize with what was going on. The picture of the society that the author builds gives the readers a solid perspective of what was going on. But, I felt that the author sometimes delved too much into providing unnecessary details that took the reader’s focus from the main story line.
The characters of the story felt quite two dimensional and I could predict what the character was going to do next. Also, apart from the three main characters, I had trouble distinguishing one from the other. None of the character could really break away from the classic high school tropes that we usually see in high school movies.
Overall, I feel that had the author spent a little more time fine tuning the story and developing the characters, this book would have been a much better read. I rate this book 2 out of 4.
I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. Playing Hurt was selected as an OnlineBookClub.org’s Book of the Day.