Before I start my review, I have the highest hopes that after you’ve read this tattletale of mine, that you look for a copy of this novel anywhere possible.
I read Good Times / Bad Times just because of the fact that it is branded as the best young novel by the best young novelist and is a reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye. The said classic is a hard act to follow so any title that resembles something existing is either loved or hated. But really, the moment I held myself on this one, I couldn’t stop myself from reading. I know it’s cliché to praise like that but it’s really hard to resist the author’s storytelling. It is narrated with honesty and confusion, with warmth that every incident you’re reading makes you shudder with fear, watched your back and steadily feels the heightening tension.
The novel is about a young student, Peter Kilburn who is involved with a crime concerning his boarding school headmaster. The novel is narrated, diary-like by the main character before waiting for his sentence. Peter enters Gilford Academy which starts his hilarious and exciting journey through his academic life when the headmaster starts to keep his eye on him. With this, Peter is involved in every campus activities and a series of events which concerns the headmaster for the latter wants recognition for the school’s popularity. The novel illustrates that there is no human inquiry without acquiring something in return and how being (too) good is bad. I don’t know if I had ever read a novel before which nearly put tears in my eyes but this one. For the story is filled with strong, convincing and memorable characters, touching incidents and sensitive and heartbreaking narration. Good Times / Bad Times should become a classic of the prep-school genre and Mr. Hoyt stands as the terrifying and deranged headmaster of his class (or any). I have never read something readable for its being terrifying and funny at the same time about the pains and troubles of truly growing up. You’ll hate to reach the end for it means letting go of the story but you’ll also be glad to read its conclusion. That is why I would like any interested reader to find their own copy to experience what I have read, selfish or not, I wouldn’t lend my dog-eared copy. I’m sorry.
Opening Sentence: It was such a short time ago that Jordan and I read in the papers you were going to defend the Wilk girl.
Ending Sentence: Hopefully yours, Peter Kilburn.