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OUTSIDE IN: A Bildungsroman *(coming of age) Novel ~Doug Cooper

“OUTSIDE IN is a deep entertaining read about all the truths that find us when we’re looking the other way.”    Jerry Stahl – from the book cover.

OutsideInOutside In just brought me right back to my days in graduate school.  I thought about my study group and all the fellows arriving full of inhaled weed, cocaine, and passing around the beer all the while thinking they were being so clever, creative and intelligent.  I was the only woman in the group and the only person paying my full fees and I needed the information that these 6 privileged, affluent, East Coast males could provide me. Their dilemma was the Viet Nam War, emotional immaturity, and the inability to problem –solve.  I resisted reading this book and pushed it to the eleventh hour just because I felt stuck into that old situation – the teacher getting no credit or acknowledgement for skills.  I should have been paid a great deal of money over my career by the “inherited wealthy sons”  instead I am watching them manipulate the economy now and many are still emotionally vacuous and even meaner than they were 40 years ago.  Why would I want to read this book?

I persevered!  I am very glad I did, because the book had teeth and psychological piercings; there was no fluff attached.  Doug Cooper distilled 4 primary characters which prove to be  composites of some of the major problems facing our culture today and being masked by recreational or entertainment excesses and even Daddy’s money. “Jell-O” people, who strive for instant gratification and feel entitled just bore me. To me it appears that they have bypassed the meat and potatoes of life, the joy of recognizing mistakes and amazingly  the very stuff of who they are and what gives them meaning and depth.  I could see that there was hope for some enlightenment in a few of these characters.

Brad the primary character in the story is 28 year old junior high school math teacher, and he is put on leave from his position because a student dies of drug use and the parents blame him.  He is persuaded to head to Put In Bay Island to be a bouncer or “camp counselor” in a resort play land.   The participants are confined by their location, their heavy drinking, their exploration of drugs, and their constant almost 24 hours of daily play.  Addiction takes over the recreation and there is a need to figure out what comes next – they draw crisis to themselves over and over again – as any good novel would.

The book is smart and quite the read and if I were still teaching Psychology in college, I would add this book to the list and would get to teach all the big concepts and words in a great lecture about coming of age in America,  why maturity is so delayed, and how when the Inherited Wealth rules our world  we will have a new cultural dilemma to contend with; this is an important read.

When reading OUTSIDE IN, try to challenge yourself to figure out the emotional goal each of the characters represents. Do we actually understand responsibility – able to respond?   I think the historic context also plays a significant role in this capable study.

“Doug Cooper has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love.  He now lives in Las Vegas.  Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or at ByCooper.com.

After I wrote this review I went to several sites and blogs including what the author shares on his blog and it was a delight to read what others said.   I am so very pleased that I persevered.  It gave me a good workout – contemplation is good!

tlclogo  TLC Online Book Tours sent me a Kindle Copy of this great read.  At first appearances I was concerned that this book was all about drinking, drugs and excessive sexual behavior, as I arrived on the Put In Bay Island with Brad Shepard, I began to see that these were the young adult children who have not learned emotions, or problem-solving and are easily persuaded to mask what they need to be tackling and growing forward; they do not know how.  The author has captured this dilemma occurring in our culture at this time and given it a definition.  Some will awaken from this dream state – OUTSIDE IN is about those who figure it out –there is an epiphany.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet. Donations also welcomed. Thank you for your support.

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*The author introduced this word to me – It just rolled around nicely into my brain – Thank you. Bildungsroman

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14 Responses to “OUTSIDE IN: A Bildungsroman *(coming of age) Novel ~Doug Cooper”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “I persevered! I am very glad I did, because the book had teeth and psychological piercings; there was no fluff attached.”

    That’s the sentence that drew me into your book review, and I’m glad it did. I always look forward to your offerings, thank you!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Home is Where the Heart IsMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you Laurie,
    I am very, very happy I read this whole book, because it contains some amazing insights

    A good window on a part of our culture.

  2. Doug Cooper Says:

    Thanks so much for your perseverance and the kind words, Patricia. Really nice when someone connects so completely with the work. Appreciate you taking the time to go beyond the excess and instant gratification and not only asking why but understanding in our current social and cultural milieu. I’ll savor this one for a while. Best wishes for continued success.

    patricia Reply:

    Doug Cooper,
    Thank you for your nice comment – sometimes it feels like a vacuum!

    I was a bit prejudiced at first with 3 -30 something children working so hard at their careers and not able to afford housing or cars – or really to fully roll into social roles that foundation our society. I get angry at those who feel entitled. I am glad I persevered.

    Thank you for sharing your understanding and good words – I will not say I loved reading this book. I will say I thought it was an important book for me to read and share

  3. Talon Says:

    Patricia, as always, an amazing and honest review. How cool that the author took the time to comment. This sounds like a thought-provoking read.
    Talon recently posted..Death by CuttingMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Very thought provoking and made me witness to how this is playing out in real time and how it will effect all of our futures.

    I had to work at it, but liked the density

  4. Sam Juliano Says:

    You hold nothing back here Patricia, and that is largely what makes you superlative report so authentic. I know those kinds of students- heck I am 59 now and went through school at that turbulent time. This book sounds right up my alley, and one that might make a good film. I give you a lot of credit for not succumbing to intimidation.

    patricia Reply:

    Yes, I think this would make a good movie Sam and we are seeing this played out in children and grandchildren today – I had to work to find it but when I did – wow did it explode in me…and then again I am out there rallying the vote and working on schools and women’s health – We need to get out of this and find some solutions.

  5. Sara Says:

    What an interesting review! I liked that you preserved and read the book even if it was at the eleventh hour.

    Like Kim said, I think it’s cool the author stopped by to leave a comment. I also liked your honest reply to the author.

    I also found Sam’s comment interesting, especially the part about you not “succumbing to intimidation!” (emphasis added by me)
    Sara recently posted..Beach TimeMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Your words always, always are taken to heart and I so appreciate what you share with me – thank you

  6. Doug Cooper, author of Outside In, on tour April/May 2014 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Tuesday, April 29th:  Patricia’s Wisdom […]

  7. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Wow, this book certainly brought back some powerful memories for you. I’m glad you appreciated the read once you were able to start it.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    Not only powerful memories but these are the folks that I spend time dealing with now….

    Big concepts here

    Thank you for asking me
    Patricia recently posted..The Garden Plot: A Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty WingateMy Profile

  8. Blog Tour: Outside In by Doug Cooper | You Can Read Me Anything Says:

    […] Tuesday, April 29th:  Patricia’s Wisdom […]