Tampa by Alissa Nutting – Book Review

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Published by Ecco Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Celeste is embarking on a new career as a middle school teacher, something she has been looking forward to for some time. She isn’t looking forward to teaching for the reason that most people do, though, she is looking forward to it for the access to young boys. Celeste would do just about anything to avoid sex with her husband because, in his early 30s, he is more than fifteen years too old for her. Fourteen year old boys, now they interest her, and as an eighth grade teacher she has all the access she could want to intriguing young men.

Tampa is an insanely disturbing book. I knew from the description that there was a whole reverse-Lolita thing going on and that was disturbing enough in and of itself. However, the first 20 pages in particular of Tampa are ever so much more disgusting and horrific than I ever imagined. Somehow I kept reading and once I got past the intense shock value early on, I began to see the genius of Nutting’s writing. She never tries to make Celeste likeable or make the reader identify with her, but somehow she still sucks you into Celeste’s sexually sick and psychopathic mind.

What really worked for me in reading Tampa was to think of it as a horror novel. A horror novel can be intensely graphic and disturbing and still have a brilliance in the writing and plotting, and that is exactly the case with Tampa. That being said, Tampa, like any horror novel, is certainly not for everyone. How you will feel about the book depends largely on your capacity for disturbing in pursuit of amazing, but really, it is sort of amazingly brilliant.

For more on this book, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.


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11 comments to Tampa by Alissa Nutting – Book Review

  • I’m buying this one…too intriguing to not want to readmm

  • I still don’t think this one is for me…

  • This book sounds so disturbing, but also intriguing. Can’t wait to read this one.

  • I wholeheartedly agree. This is a completely horrific book but yet there is a touch of brilliance as well. I read it months ago, reread it recently, and I’m still trying to write a review.

  • You know, when I was trying to defend Nutting by thinking of authors who had written horrendous characters into books that people generally enjoy, I never once thought to list horror novels….and it’s such a perfect way of thinking about it. I totally agree that getting through the first few chapters is the key to this novel, and it’s really tough. I still can’t necessarily say that I “liked” it, that’s such a difficult term to put around a book like this, but I totally appreciate it, want people to read it and give tons of praise to Alissa Nutting for the work she’s done.

    • I was very pleased with myself for making the connection, it really helped me settle down in my admiration of what Nutting pulled off. And really, it came about pretty much the same way you mention, trying to defend (albeit to myself) that plenty of people are able to enjoy some pretty horrific books.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on this one because of the crazy topic! It sounds really interesting!

  • I’m not sure if I’ll read this one, but I hadn’t heard about it before, so I’m glad to know what it’s like!

  • I’m intrigued, I don’t think I’ve heard of any other books with a female sexual predator.

  • I can’t seem to get away from this book! It’s been everywhere this week! Looks like I’m going to have to give it a try. This can’t be much worse than Criminal Minds or Law and Order: SVU (my favorites!), right?