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