Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

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Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  valkeakuulas on 11/22/2012, 6:01 pm

Decidied to start the thread then, since my ponderings have a lot of spoilers.

Got the book on the 20th. I love my book supplier!

Anyway, very rough thoughts just hours after finishing the book.

Firstly I wish I hadn't known what happens to Carson, but then again the hit in the end might have been even more heartwrenching and painful. I'm really interested in hearing what people who didn't know Carson dies when they began reading thought about the premiss and the book. Of course an avid reader might sense something big is going to happen and things might not end up so well (Chris also clearly sheads crumbs along the way).

And again because I knew the ending this thick omnious? cloud hung around my head as I read.

But huge remark: I was very AFFECTED whilst reading and this was particulary noticed at the introduction chapters of Carson and reading the betrayal of his parents. For some reason his fathers behaviour hurt me more since it was eshtablished that his mother did suffer from serious issues. I was close to tears when Carson leaves from the dinner at his fathers and talks about his mother. The horrible realisation that his father actually knew Sheryl was somewhat crazy/insane and despite all that left his only son as a ten year old to cope on his own, essentially also when he had still been around.

For me Carson was not too much of an "asshole". I know people like this and for some reason this side of his personality didn't bother me. The only time I found his anger too much was when he downplayed everyones ideas at the student council. There Carson's cynical and depricating manner was a bit too much.

Some of the characters I could have lived without, like the jock and the stoner. Remy was a nice addition but lacked something for me. That didn't mean she wasn't important storyvise and I wouldn't dismiss her because I didn't like her.

Book wasn't funny but it had funny moments, moments of fun created out of despair.

I was very much enthralled and even read it at work which I'm not supposed to do. Embarassed

I like the way Chris writes. Makes me think of his writing for adults; what it will sound and feel like. There could have been so much more to open in Carson's realtionships with people but I get that there was no reason to extend a YA book beyond these 250+ pages. It was good lenght considering the subject matter and the actual ending being what it was. Anymore intimate bonding with Carson would have felt awfully heartwrenching.

There were clichés when adult literature is concerned: distant father, difficult mother, painful departing of grandparents, pressure to fit in and compromise, but Chris managed to get me very much invested in the story. That makes me wonder how much of this emotional playing was actually deliberate and how much was pure story development.

As I'm not a native speaker and do not excell at grammar at any level I didn't notice any blatant errors or awkwardness: reading was effortless.

Struck By Lightning and TLOS makes me want to read more of his works. Some parts of this probably came from his own life (as he has mentioned in interviews) but there were lots of fictive narration and stories going on, so no room for people to insult or descibre this simply as telling his own high school stories.

Whoa, that was lot of sidenotes. I might return once my head clears.
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Divalicious on 11/25/2012, 4:58 am

Just finished reading the book, had some tears in my eyes for this kid, despite all his faults, who fought so hard to be more than people were willing to allow him to be. So much of this is Chris' story, with a much happier ending, thank goodness in his case.

Yes he was snide, self-centered and devious. But also he had a great deal of love, that unfortunately his parents either didn't want or couldn't perceive, only his grandmother who couldn't remember him loved him, and was loved in return.

How despite his elitism and pride in his intellect he had no problems with his best friend being a mentally challenged girl, because he realized her life is harder than his.

I do wish we had more of how Carson's death affected the people he left behind, instead we had a few statements of people being proper and not speaking ill of the dead. It will be interesting to see if in the movie we get some shots, because good actors can convey a lot of story with the right look.

Carson had principles and he stuck to them. He called himself on his own shit, but stuck to his guns because he wanted the hell out of that town. There were a few moments when the people who were the upper eschelon in the school exposed their own fear that this was as good as they were going to get, and it would have been nice to see more of that, but as previously stated, this is a YA novel, and are usually of a shorter length.

This movie is going to make me bawl my eyes out, because I am going to want to get out and kick a few butts to protect this kid (and Chris) and I won't be able to. Sadly, I don't know what happens to his mother, if the garbage truck I hired to run over his father actually did so, and were the evidence pictures in color. I was surprised how little his father was in the book, and that he managed to trick an apparently beautiful and nice woman to have a child with him. For someone so briefly in the book, he is an unmitigated bastard.

Chris continues to write evocative stories, while not perfect, they do make you feel. Make you care, make you want to crack some heads. It will be interesting to see how his writing increases in depth over the years, I look forward to the opportunity in supporting his career in any small way that I can.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Glorfindel on 11/25/2012, 8:37 am

Although I've only read the first 3 chapters, I had to write a bit about my thoughts so far.

At first I thought Chris was putting it on too thick with the sarcasm of Carson, but after reading a bit more I saw the protective walls that Carson had built around him because of his shit situation at home and the feeling he had of noone onderstanding or appreciating him.
This kid was left in the cold so many times it is no wonder he became bitter and sarcastic. But he was not lost: with the way he interacts with his friend-by-default Malorie you see that Carson had love and compassion in him, if people were willing to give him a chance.

And my God, the drive in him! I recognize that so well. The feeling that what's inside you just has to burst out one way or another. Pouring that drive out in a private setting, like writing a journal, or in my case singing in my hairbrush in my bedroom (I'm very Rachel Berry that way, lol), just isn't enough.
You have to put it out there. Not because you want praise or want to be cocky about your talent, but because these things need air to breathe and you can't not use and exercise it in any way possible.
I read the "It goes through your body and tries to escape and be expressed in any way possible,...it's a lot like...lightning." phrase before of course, in the promotion of the movie and the book, but when Carson uses it in the book to describe his need to write to Malerie: that hit home for me.


The overall feeling I get from the journal so far is loneliness.
And when I read all the references to Chris's real life (particularly his school life) I feel so much sadness and protectivism boiling up that I want to kick the asses of everyone that scarred this kid (both Chris and Carson) or hurt all the other kids who grew/grow up feeling this ostracized and misunderstood (me being one of them).

So yeah..... many feelings.
Chris is a very gifted writer who knows how to draw you into a story, but especially one who makes you feel for the person he's writing for, whether that person is good or bad (and Carson is a bit of both, although his heart definitely is in the right place).

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Glorfindel on 11/27/2012, 9:07 am

The more I read in the book the more I like it. Chris' writing really draws you into the story. wub
I'm at the point where the literary magazine is printed.

Warning: if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read on.


I love that Carson is very determined to reach his goals, but that he also constantly doubts himself, and is conflicted with the moral aspects of what he's doing. He is very aware/proud of his (mental) capabilities, but wonders if he's deluding himself into thinking he's better than he might really be. He is angry at his peers for the shit they gave him and therefore he (initially) has no scruples blackmailing them, but he does wonder if this makes him a bad person and if the goal justifies the means.
Carson not being sure he can convince the ones he's blackmailing to do what he wants untill he gets angry and flips out (and I can't wait to see Chris act out that scene), his apology to the gay couple after he realized what hiding a secret like that must mean to them, him discovering Vicky's secret and not knowing how to help: it's a bundle of emotions and thoughts that contradict each other. It's really very well done: all the conflicting emotions going on at the same time in one's mind is very relatable.

The book is a good mixture of gloom and silliness, sarcastic witty snark and juvenile lame jokes, hopelessness/loneliness and love/friendship, no1curr and sympathy.
Whenever I thought that the writing was leaning too much towards one of these things (like the easy, typical teenage movie kind of way the actual blackmailing was described), the story quickly moved into another direction (like Carson unexpectedly feeling sympathy for his 'victims'). When I found Carson too cocky and full of himself to be likeable, he had a sudden realization that things might not work out the way he planned and he turned into an insecure teenager again.
Chris manages a wonderful balance that keeps me on my toes while reading.

Another thing I really like is that no character is either good or bad, black or white. There are some wonderful shades of grey (no pun intented Rolling Eyes) in every character, even in the more stereotypical ones, like the dumb jock or the bitchy cheerleader.
For instance: the school counselor is a dimwit and clueless blonde, but she does help Carson by doing a little bit of research to her best abilities, and Carson is surprised by this, but acknowledges her help and thanks her.

There are also some moments when I think we can see straight into Chris' own heart. I'm sure that anyone here who reads the book can recognize and pinpoint them.
At some moment Carson is wondering how his peers will look back on high school 10 years from now. And how they will remember him, Carson. And there is a short story of cheerleader Claire (about being on top of a cheerleaders pyramid / pedestal) that is quite telling, imo.
It not only reminds me (as a fan of Chris) of where Chris came from and what motivates him, but it also reminds me of my own (similar but different) struggles through life, and why I was so drawn to this witty, charming and oh so brave gay kid in the first place.


I hope to finish the book either today or tomorrow. If it weren't for my obligations (work, kids) I'd go on reading till I finish it right now. neutre

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Glorfindel on 11/27/2012, 5:14 pm

So, I just finished the book, and I am left flabbergasted. ohmy

I was a bit afraid reading this book. I enjoyed reading TLoS, although it is clearly a childrens' book, and I like Chris's snarky wit and the way his mind works. But from all I heard about SBL and saw in the trailer I was afraid that this movie would not be my cup of tea, and Carson would not be someone I could identify with and root for. But boy, how wrong was I.
Carson does some bad things and is a pain in the ass, but you can understand why and your heart goes out to him very early on in the book without it being forced upon you. Carson is a very realistic person with flaws and an enormous drive to better the world (his way, mind you), and I could relate to him easily.

As a matter of fact: everyone in the book has more than one side to them, and it is incredible how much Chris could go inside the heads of all of them, especially considering that he wrote this book as a journal of someone who only has a limited (and colored) outside view of the other characters.
I read in some reviews of the movie that the adult characters are the most fleshed out in it, and that is very possible because a movie is a whole different medium than a book, and adult actors might be able to convey the emotions Chris wrote more than the kid actors. Granted: in the book the kids are in one way quite stereotypical, but they have a deeper layer underneath the obvious characterisations. That deeper layer comes to the foreground in the literary magazine, and in some almost accidental small scenes, that are scattered in the book like little pearls of wisdom.

Which brings me to the literary magazine. I thought that this part would be the least interesting, but I found the contributions of the several characters very insightful, and some of them very funny. They also all got their own style, and it's strange to know that Chris wrote them all himself.
One sentence of the dumb jock had me almost literally rolling over the floor laughing, and it's probably because I'm Dutch and 6 years old. tonguue I put it behind spoiler bars, to not spoil the joke for those who want to wait with reading it in the book:
Spoiler:
People call me stupid, idiot, and a Neanderthal (even though I'm not from the Netherlands)...
ptdr

The ending was quite emotional, although not because of the reason we all assumed. I guess that if you've been living in a cave for the past year and didn't know about Carson dying, that would be the biggest shock in the end, but there is another shocking twist. And it broke my heart a bit.
I experienced something similar when I was young, and although the circumstances were very different I felt the feelings about that rushing back to me from the past.
And that is something that happened to me a lot while reading The Carson Phillips Journal. It's astounding how much his experiences resonated with mine. Or maybe I should better say: Chris's experiences, that seep through in this book. I can't believe how well he describes those feelings and frustrations that so many teenagers felt/feel when they are learning to live their lives and planning their future.

The revelation/epiphany at the very end of the book, which is the eye-opener for Carson to be content and happy even when all his dreams shattered around him, is not forced or written in an overly poetic and pompous way. It is simple and to the point, and doesn't come across as a cheesy PSA (ha, looking at you Glee). Carson is still not in the best place possible at the end, but he's come to terms with his predicament and manages to make the most of it.
Untill lightning strikes, of course. :(


I don't know. I think I'm biased. I know I'm biased. But I thoroughly enjoyed the Carson Phillips Journal, and it struck a chord in me I thought was silenced and dealt with a long time ago. That is, untill I first got interested in Kurt and the actor portraying him, that is. This book is more or less an extension to why Chris gave life to Kurt on Glee, why he became one of Time 100 most influential people, and why his Golden Globe speech was so touching and inspirational for so many.
If anything, this book is another insight in Chris's believes and experiences, just like TLoS is, although in a very different way.
Writing 2 books that clearly are about past experiences could be a pitfall for a young writer like Chris. You can't keep writing over and over again about the same thing, although disguised in several different genres. But I think Chris's imagination goes way beyond his own experiences. He has shown that his characters are complex and diverse, and so far he has created a fantasy world based on old fairy tales and a magnified and distorted representation of his old home town. Plus we know he already wrote more than these 2 worlds. I think there is much more in him and that his imagination has no boundaries.
I can't wait to see SBL or read the next book from this bestselling author. fanny2


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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Divalicious on 11/28/2012, 1:59 am

It's been many years since I've read any young adult books, and when I did, they were more fantasy types, but this one did make my eyes prickle with tears. As I said in my previous post, I felt very protective about the character, perhaps because I know some of the pain this character felt was the very real pain Chris felt growing up. I hate that he had to feel that way, or that anyone had to feel that way. I am also very biased, and happily so. I find Chris amazing, and brave, and talented. That people were un-supportive of him because he doesn't fit their idea of what is acceptable pisses me off.

This is why I avoid sad real life stories. I can let go of characters/animals being hurt/dying in fiction, but knowing it really did happen hurts my heart. I am sure a lot of writers use their life experience to get their story across, but I don't know those guys. Chris, I am familiar with, his rise to fame, the things that drove him. Carson is part of Chris, and therefore he is real to me. Thankfully Chris' parents are no where near Carson's. But I know the unacceptance was there.

I love that Carson isn't a perfect person, who always makes the right decision. He is a kid with no guidance in his life, no positive support other than a grandmother who doesn't remember him anymore. He did more things right than things wrong. Blackmailing isn't good, but letting idiots get away with being cruel shouldn't be rewarded either. It isn't as if he was making them pay money, or do illegal things, he was making them rub a couple of brain cells together and write a story. Let them do something worthwhile in their school years, for some, the only thing. He also showed the black/white of a young persons thinking, and their surprise when grey is discovered.

This is based on his movie, but even if it weren't, just like TLOS, I can see it being filmed. You can see the writer in him being combined with the actor. He paints the picture and gives you the emotions that go with it. The fighting of despair is what I really felt when I read this. A kid that has everything against him, but refuses to give up. He gets knocked down, rests for a while, then gets himself back up again. He would have made it out of that town if it weren't for the lightning. The book did need that poignant moment, as much as I will hate to see Chris playing dead, to make it memorable. Not everything is happy endings, as much as we wish they would be. If Carson had gotten out of town, this story would have become more generic, albeit happy. Either way I would watch it, but I think this kind of ending will garner Chris interest in his writing and acting talents in avenues which have ignored him because he is on Glee, not exactly the pinnacle of drama. If it helps his career, sad moments are worthwhile. I want a long Chris career, in front of and behind the scenes.


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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  msjoanlucette on 11/28/2012, 9:31 am

I feel like, I should probably say something about his book since I love it so much. (I'll later share my experiences meeting chris colfer when my friend finally decides to send me the pictures. >.<)

His book is honestly really inspiring. I've read it twice already and will probably read it again. (though I am worried if the book becomes damaged). I sort of want to read it everyday.

One of the things I knew from the trailers, and the interviews Chris has done is that Carson is an overachiever. But his passion is just so inspiring. Especially since I'm still in high school. One of the things I love is how Carson is never the victim. And Carson isn't necessarily made out to be a hero or a villain either. Carson never lets his circumstances get to him. I love how optimistic and funny he is.

I also really liked how he doesn't become friends with all of the people he blackmailed. Sure there was some sort of insight to every character he blackmailed, but he doesn't necessarily become friends with them, or have good terms with them in the end. (Just to say to get rid of that cliche). And not everyone magically loves writing also.

Reading it and knowing it was by Chris is so amazing. I wonder how much of this story is actually about him that he didn't tell us. To be completely honest, I would have loved it if I didn't know it was by Chris.

There was a lot of funny things that he wrote, that are just so great. I was telling my friend some of them, and another friend of ours was really excited about it (they didn't know it was by Chris when I was talking about it). I told them who it was, but I don't think they knew who Chris is. I sort of feel like, people judge his book because it's written by him. Which makes me peeved, because a lot of people only expect someone to be talented in one thing rather than a variety.

There are so many great lessons in the book that I think that everyone can learn from. And I hope Chris continues to write. I think my only problem with the novel if I had to say there were problems, was that it could use more description. (but as a rebuttal, I'd like to say it's just a journal).

I really wonder how much he actually took out after it was written in high school. If it was darker. I also want to know how different it is from the movie. There are some things I thought were going to be in the book, that weren't.

I really wanted to take this book with me everyday to school, so when ever I feel unmotivated or sad I can read his book. but I really don't want to ruin the book. I'm probably going to buy another copy that isn't signed.

I really wish Carson didn't die. I really wish we could have continued to read more of his story. I really can't wait to watch Struck By Lightning. Reading this book was one of the most wonderful things I've read and I can't wait to read more.
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Ireth on 11/29/2012, 1:43 am

I was thinking of waiting to watch the movie first since the movie came first, but I had the book in my hands and couldn't wait so I thought- screw it, they released the book before the official movie release so I can read it first.

Oh my god. This was brilliant. It was so realistic, and it was kind of depressing at times, but it was also inspiring. Just like people's lives in real life and that was why it affected me so much. Plus I'm at that point in life where school is ending and I'm making future plans so everything resonated with me. There are a few moments when I feel what is the point of working so hard so Carson and this book are really going to keep me motivated during those times.

I didn't find Carson unlikeable at all. We could see exactly why he had to resort to defence mechanisms like sarcasm and rudeness, and we could see how so many adults who are supposed to be there for him let him down. Of course he would be cynical. But he still had his heart in the right place.

I loved the literary magazine. Each contribution was surprisingly insightful.

His father using him to build up a better image of himself and his mother throwing away his acceptance letter really hurt my heart. And the part about being accepted but then being denied, and of course his mother's confession came as such a shock to me. I really wasn't expecting that-I thought Carson would die before the acceptance letter was sent to him. Still, that realization he came to at the ocean was so inspiring. And the sudden news of Carson's death was another hit to the heart. I was so engrossed in reading that I forgot Carson dies.

Now I have to go cry. And study hard.

@msjoanlucette, looking forward to reading about your experience...so happy for you!
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  arina on 12/6/2012, 9:15 am

I've finally read SBL novel.... I knew beforehand I am not exactly one of those people the book is for, I was never overachiever, I always tried to be invisible at school and I am not sure I ever did something at school I didn't have to. blushh I won't write long review because I am not good at and it would take me few hours like the short Glee survey. Razz But just few my thoughts:

- I don't think Carson is someone I would be friend with in highschool and his conviction he smarter than everyone there was little irritating for me, but I was glad there where moments he also doubted himself and overall he was interesting (and seemed like a real) person. The book made me understand him and his frustration and seeig his big efforts ended like that was painful. And surprisingly even though like I said he is very different person from me some of the situation he was in reminded me something of my real live...

- I liked that no character was just black or white...

- The book was easy to read and understand, I laughed couple of times and almost cried at the end. It also made me think. But... I saw a lot of complaints on Chris's writing skills in TLOS and as not native speaker and being really bad in english language) I almost didn't see any. I loved TLOS. I liked this book too, but I don't know if it was just me but this book seemed to me little bit more amateriush... I don't know....I know it's "just" a diary but for example does he not realize that he uses the word "said" almost in every sentence? And I also feel like he sometimes quotes things that are useless like for example I wouldn't write to my dictionary someting like ""hi" I said" if that makes any sense. I hope my post didn't sound too critical, but there were many good things written about the book and I agree with most of it, so I thought I would focus little bit more on things that bothered me because I am curious what do you guys think. I think Chris has great ideas but maybe he should spend little bit more time on writing them. He does so many things at the same time that I am not sure if he can be 100% devoted to everything even if he said he can.
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  ColferGirl on 12/11/2012, 9:52 pm

I started listening to the audiobook of SBL last night, and finished it just now. So I thought I'd post my thoughts, immediately after feeling them and finishing. neutre

Disclaimer: Most probably remember from TLOS, but I'm an English Major in college - currently working toward my Bachelor's - and a native speaker, so that colors my opinions of books and how they're written.

First, I want to say I really enjoyed Struck by Lightning. I liked it more than TLOS, although TLOS was enjoyable as well - but I loved the raw, intimate feel of SBL a bit more. The ending made me cry, and the shocking twist about his mother and the acceptance letter made me tear up. It was really heartbreaking. I can't imagine my devastation if my parents ever threw away a letter telling me a book of mine was accepted by a publisher, so seeing Carson's devastation over it really struck me deep. His relationship to his family, or rather lack of one, I found to be the most interesting and real part of the book. Every scene with his broken family was so razor sharp and painful and well-written, they cut deep and really stayed with me, and really made me feel for Carson. His family life was so heartrending, with his douche failure of a father who abandoned and then tried to use him; his mother, so callous and cold and seemingly uncaring toward him, and then who put her own needs and fears over the dreams and needs of her son at the end; and his grandmother, who can't remember him or acknowledge he's there. And then April, as a ghost of what could have been for Carson, a life and a mother and a family he'll never have. It felt really powerful to me. I would have loved to see more scenes with his family.

I liked that Chris didn't shy away from making Carson such a rough anti-hero - bitter and angry and at times, truly hateful and spiteful and an ass. Being so harsh on the outside, and yet still having the vulnerability and confusion and insecurity on the inside, having those moments of caring and kindness towards others like Mallory, made Carson a great character. Even though I'd never befriend someone like Carson in real life - I'm too shy, and too much of a goody two-shoes, I usually keep my distress and anger locked inside - I loved how unapologetically cruel and snarky he could be. Like his scathing comments toward the goth culture, and his dismissal of most of his classmates' intelligence and integrity until toward the end. I've heard comments from elsewhere that Carson came off as preachy sometimes, and even though I recognized those moments where others thought that, I think it added to the teenagehood of Carson. Most teenagers do see the world in black and white, and think they have all the answers or know what's best. And thankfully, Chris almost always lampshaded within the story when Carson was about to be a bit preachy or say something he shouldn't or had no right to, so that brought a self-awareness in both the writing and Carson's character that I appreciated. I also just thought a lot of his scathing snark was hilarious. Razz His rant about algebra and school parking lots cracked me up, as did a ton of witty one-liners he wrote throughout the story.

I loved the inspiring aspect of Carson's character. How passionate he was, how driven, and how despite his awful life - cold and uncaring parents, forgotten, disregarded, barely any friends, misunderstood, underappreciated, hated or ignored by most everyone - Carson never gave up. He kept dreaming big, and always believed he would make it, that he was destined for better. And by the end of the book, when his world felt like it had crashed around him and life was no longer worth it, he realized dreams aren't the only way for a boy to fly. That courage and resilience, loving your friends, trying to see past the surface of the people you hate, that a life that hasn't gone the way you thought isn't the only road to hope and happiness - those are all ways to spread your wings, too. He didn't fly because of getting into Northwestern. He finally flew because his heart had begun to open, to warm again. When I finished the book at first I just cried because of how sad it was that Carson had died, that in the end none of his dreams were fulfilled, his family was still so broken, and he'd never get to live the life he tried so hard for. But then I remembered Brian Danally saying that what he loved about SBL was that it was about the journey, not the destination, and I realized the power in Carson's story lay in someone who learned to fly even with clipped wings. Not where he was flying to, but that he flew at all. And that eased my heartache over his death, and find hope in the life he did live.

I enjoyed the classmates, and really loved how the literary magazine - and some scenes toward the end - gave all of them depth and complexity. Showed there was more to them than met the eye, more than what Carson originally thought was there. They were all great personalities for Carson's own to interact off of. I feel this way about all of the book really, but I wish the book had been longer, so that Claire and Remy, his family, etc. could all have been fleshed out even further and certain plot lines explored even deeper. Young adult fiction nowadays can reach considerable length, such as 400 to 500 pages, so there was definitely nothing stopping Chris from lengthening it if he had liked to. But I respect that he wanted to focus solely on Carson, since this was Carson's journal, and I understand the decision not to. The core story was still really entertaining and moving for me.

arina wrote: But... I saw a lot of complaints on Chris's writing skills in TLOS and as not native speaker and being really bad in english language) I almost didn't see any. I loved TLOS. I liked this book too, but I don't know if it was just me but this book seemed to me little bit more amateriush... I don't know....I know it's "just" a diary but for example does he not realize that he uses the word "said" almost in every sentence? And I also feel like he sometimes quotes things that are useless like for example I wouldn't write to my dictionary someting like ""hi" I said" if that makes any sense. I hope my post didn't sound too critical, but there were many good things written about the book and I agree with most of it, so I thought I would focus little bit more on things that bothered me because I am curious what do you guys think. I think Chris has great ideas but maybe he should spend little bit more time on writing them. He does so many things at the same time that I am not sure if he can be 100% devoted to everything even if he said he can.

And now comes my obnoxiousness. Everything you said is true. On a technical level, Chris is still a bit amateurish. However, SBL was notably improved in comparison to TLOS for me, so I do think he's getting better, one book at a time. (But this may be because I only bought the audiobook version this time, so the words weren't right infront of me on the page, so certain kinds of mistakes I wouldn't be able to pick up).

When you write, you do want to use "said" as often as possible, and other words - like "shouted", "replied", "cried", should be used sparingly. However, Chris doesn't seem to realize that you can - and definitely should - signify a character is speaking in a lot more ways than just said. For example, he could have a character do an action, like this -

Claire rolled her eyes. "Why do you care so much Carson? It's just a stupid paper."

instead of

"Why do you care so much Carson? It's just a stupid paper." said Claire.

Both lines let you know Claire is speaking, but the first is smoother and actually emphasizes the emotion of the dialogue. Two birds with one stone. Most writers would use both types of lines in their writing to create a balance and make the story sound more fluid, or "flowing". But for whatever reason, Chris never - or almost never - uses the first, and overuses the second. I also agree with whomever said Chris could use more description to help flesh out the characters and the world better, which was an issue he had with TLOS as well and continued to have here.

However, in Chris's defense, the way he wrote the story is actually much more true to a journal. You wouldn't sit and describe things in detail in a journal, you'd just get your feelings out there and talk about your day, which is exactly how Chris wrote it. As I was listening, it really felt like a teenager had written this journal - what could be seen as writing mistakes and flaws actually made the story more authentic and real as someone's personal space where they vent and share their secrets. Chris may have written it this way on purpose because he knew it would help enrich Carson's narrative voice and personality, make it more true to someone spilling their life and feelings onto a page. Or, it was a lucky coincidence, and they were true technique issues from not having read enough books to pick up better writing technique, having taken no formal writing classes (from what I understand), and having a poor editor.

But regardless, even with a few technical issues, I still really loved the book and can't wait to see the movie. Any story that touched me enough, that made me feel and connect with a character enough to make me cry for them, is a great story in my book. I also really recommend the audiobook to anyone who hasn't listened to it, Chris brings such life into Carson and all the other characters, and does his best to do character voices and the like. The literary journal pieces are especially funny in his different voices, and the scenes with his mother and father, and anything toward the end of the book felt that much more emotional to me, hearing the emotion Chris brought to it. I really felt like I was sitting right next to someone telling me the story of their life, with all its emotional ups and downs, the anger and heartbreak and, at times, the love clearly there in his voice. Carson felt so real. If you can, you should definitely give it a listen. I think it adds so much to the whole experience. wub


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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  fantastica on 12/11/2012, 11:58 pm

thanks Erin for the wonderful review. I especially enjoy reading reviews from someone who is also a writer, because the unique perspective from a technical point of view (like reading a song review from a vocal couch rather than from someone w/o any music background). I haven't bought the book yet. I am expecting to get it as a xmas gift. There will be no spoiler for me because I already saw the movie.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Glorfindel on 12/12/2012, 5:07 am

Thank you Erin, that was a really good review. neutre
I enjoyed learning more about the techniques of the writing involved (just like Kim said).

I haven't listened to the audiobook yet, but plan to do so in the Christmas Holiday. I'll probably cry all over again, lol.
It is true what you said: a book that can make you cry and feel all that is a good book, regardless of possible minor technical writing flaws. The same goes for singing, btw. fanny2


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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Delight on 12/13/2012, 8:15 am

Glorfindel wrote:
One sentence of the dumb jock had me almost literally rolling over the floor laughing, and it's probably because I'm Dutch and 6 years old. tonguue I put it behind spoiler bars, to not spoil the joke for those who want to wait with reading it in the book:
Spoiler:
People call me stupid, idiot, and a Neanderthal (even though I'm not from the Netherlands)...
ptdr

That joke got me chuckling too. Smile

Glorfindel wrote:
I haven't listened to the audiobook yet, but plan to do so in the Christmas Holiday. I'll probably cry all over again, lol.

If you cried reading the book, just wait till you listen to a devastated Carson. As someone who just finished listening to the audiobook today, I have a feeling you will cry all over again. I was tearing up in the car (quite a dangerous thing to do, now that I think about it) when Carson had a breakdown in front of his grandmother after the whole school really begin to hate him in earnest. Those lines where Carson was voicing out that maybe he's not as independent as he thought he was, and that he may be mistaken about not needing anyone else in his life are heart-wrenching enough to listen to. When that's coupled with Chris's voice acting and his uncanny ability to put so much hurt and emotion into what he says, the effect is truly devastating (It really sounds as if Chris/Carson was on the verge of tears when he said those lines).

I was kinda suspecting that Carson's mother sabotaged Carson's application somehow (thanks to my mistake of having read a movie review that was a tad too spoilerish), so that twist hadn't hit me in the gut like it would've had if I had been oblivious. And is it just me, or does Chris sound a lot like Alison Janney when he does the voice for Carson's mother?

I have to admit that the scenes that are more heart-felt to me are the ones involving Carson's dysfunctional family. The high school and blackmailing parts of the story are like 'light entertainment' in comparison. But there is one high school scene that stood out for me, and that is when Carson nearly wanted to reach out to the Goth girl after he accidentally caught a glimpse of evidence of her pain (which is a contrast to how he initially disdained anyone who dresses up in that style). I also found the Goth girl's short story piece in the literary magazine to be most haunting.

One more observation: It looks like the 'nutella' line is definitely ad-libbed by Rebel Wilson, because it's not in the book at all Razz
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 12/27/2012, 3:16 am

I don't have the book yet, but plan to soon.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  tanita_mors on 1/8/2013, 11:36 am

PM if you still need the book.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 1/9/2013, 10:59 am

tanita_mors wrote:PM if you still need the book.

If you mean me. I still need the book, but I live in the USA.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Kurt Hummel on 1/9/2013, 7:54 pm

Hi guys. Haven't posted on here in a long time.

I just got the book for Christmas and I love it so far. Carson's comments are hilarious. Razz
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Jellyrolls on 1/9/2013, 10:07 pm

Welcome back, Kurtsie4ever. Stick around. We enjoy reading your posts here!

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/24/2013, 3:57 pm

I would have loved to have seen Carson's final scene with Vicki in the film. Those who have read the book know what I'm talking about.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Delight on 1/27/2013, 12:21 am

I think there needs to be a new book or movie, if Carson's tentative friendship (if you can call it that) with Vicki is to be explored in the manner it deserves. I like that scene in the book. Too bad they couldn't put it into the movie without derailing it too much. I think Vicki's story (a sad and angsty one from the looks of it, complete with gothic fashion sense and cutting) would only make more sense when you read her entry to the literary magazine.
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/27/2013, 12:44 am

Her entry into the magazine was my favorite. I agree that it would interrupt the narrative flow of the film, though. In the book, Carson went from seeing goth kids as attention seeking, whiny little bitches who had no real problems. Then, when he discovered Vicki cuts herself, he actually dropped all of the snark and the judgment and actually asked her if she needed to talk to someone. He was shocked and actually felt sympathy for her. Seeing as his views of goth students were not touched upon whatsoever in the film, it would've made no sense to have that little discovery scene towards the end, because it wouldn't have shown character growth for Carson from point A to point B, because you can't have point B there without touching upon point A. I just love the softer, more human moments with Carson's character, so I would have loved to have seen him being nicer to one of his blackmailing "victims" anyway. Smile


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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  Delight on 1/27/2013, 1:24 am

^ Haha. Yes. Carson was very judgmental and dismissive of the goth kids at the start of the book, wasn't he? tonguue

The book did make more effort to file down some of Carson's more rough and truculent edges. He apologized to the gay couple. He caught a glimpse of Vicki's personal pain and showed signs of being sympathetic about her situation. He helped Melanie discover her voice in writing (instead of fully relying on plagiarism).

I'm just glad that we have the book to allow us more insight into Carson's character. He's not just a one-dimensional, ambitious teenager with anger management issues. There is a sweet kid under all those spiky layers he's wrapped himself in for protection against a hostile world.
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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 1/27/2013, 2:42 am

I plan on buying the book early next month.

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/27/2013, 5:37 pm

I agree so much with that statement, Delight. The book gave us more of a look into his vulnerabilities (such as feeling nervous as hell when first inviting all of his blackmailing victims into the classroom) and his softer side too, like when he was feeling so sorry for his mom when his dad invited him over for dinner with April. Of course, we are given glimpses into the little chinks in his armor here and there, but he is much more fleshed out in the book for sure.

And FanofChrisC&MaxA1, you will love the book! Chris' sense of humor is so wicked!

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Re: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal Read and Discuss thread

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 1/27/2013, 5:47 pm

Looking forward to reading the book.

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