Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated by Tom Starita
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Part 1: From The Book Cover
Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique and comic look at what we all fear—having to grow up and abandon our dreams.
For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been mooching off of his fiancee Jackie for years until she finally decides she's had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the stockroom at, "That Store." How does he cope with this new found sense of responsibility?
He casually steals…
In a life spent bucking authority how will Lucas James deal with his manager, 'Victor the Dictator'? How long can he survive Ralph, a starry-eyed coworker who desires nothing more than to be best friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall for his charms? Will he ever find a place to live? And is "growing up" just another way of saying "selling out?"
Part 2: Recommendation
The narrative is written in a 1st person POV from Lucas James' perspective who is very self-centered, narcissistic, a liar and a jerk. I honestly don't like him but I agreed to read and review this book when the author Tom Starita submitted a book review request because the description did say, it's a coming-of-age story and other reviews said it's hilarious.
Sad to say, for me at least, the only hilarious scene throughout this entire book was the scene where a 75-lb rolling island unit was being hauled up to the 3rd floor by Lucas James on p.11. That was it. The only scene I found hilarious and real life laughed out loud.
The line, "First you write the hit song, then you die. Never reversed" on p. 13 reminded me of Chester Bennington, Linkin Park's lead singer committing suicide on 7/20/2017.
The line, "There is nothing more maddening than losing potentially great lines to the ethers of your mind" on p. 15 does ring a bell and has some truth to it.
Lucas James is big on procrastination when he said, "Any task, any goal, any dream you wish to accomplish but failed to do so today, has the opportunity for redemption the next time the sun rises. My faith in tomorrow was ultimately not shared by Jackie" on p. 16 made me cringe because what if there is no tomorrow for you? Then you would've wasted today doing nothing when you could've easily done something towards accomplishing your task/goal/dream, etc. I agree with Jackie on this one.
Just no to the scene where Lucas takes his 5-year-old nephew to a strip club for lunch and no to the scene where he pretended to have gotten hit by a teacher. No matter how "immature" or "irresponsible" or "rebellious" a person is, these two scenes should never have happened.
And the line, “Never propose at a dive bar” on p. 153 really?! It's more like never use a ring you stole to propose to your girlfriend. Ever.
The line where he admits to being a dick, “If you are a dick you have jerk tendencies, plain and simple. You are selfish and don't take the feelings of others into consideration when you do whatever it is you want to do. At the same time, people still like you. You're most likely funny and/or attractive, which dulls a person’s animosity towards you. People enjoy being around you because they think you're interesting or quirky. They also try to live vicariously through you, because you are the person who says what they are thinking. When a dick walks into the room you can feel the energy shift. People feel better, smiles appear on faces, and all is right with the world. When the dick leaves the room, the collective mood deflates, and depression is normally the end result” on p. 176 is the exact opposite for me. I don't get fooled by the charm. I feel super relieved when said dick leaves the room.
I hate this line on p.179 “Punch in, do as little work as possible, punch out.” I've worked with people with this kind of work ethic and it's stressful. So I'm really not liking Lucas James at all, nor do I find his antics funny. I also did not appreciate the lack of any legal consequences to Lucas James' stealing. An innocent person gets the hit for it, which is not fair and definitely sends out the wrong message. I believe that books should teach the readers important life lessons and this book failed miserably on this point.
Finally, something I can agree with: “So live the life you want to live. Take chances and accept the likelihood of failure. Because whether you succeed or fail… your name and all you did or did not do will disappear into the sands of time.”
Overall, the paper quality is good and the formatting and writing style is very good. I know that this book was independently published and each page costs something to print but how I wished that this book did not start abruptly on Chapter 1. What I mean was, the lack of a copyright page and maybe a list of other books the author wrote in the front matter section and an author bio in the back matter section after the acknowledgments. It would be nice to have those two things as I do read those sections as well.
As for the plot and pacing of the story… it reads like a memoir and relatively paced. There's nothing exciting (for me at least) to entice the reader to keep reading. I had to put the book down several times and debate whether to file it under my DNF (Did-Not-Finish) shelf or continue reading. Every time I put the book down because I was getting annoyed at Lucas James, I had to take deep breaths and remind myself that the sooner I finish reading this book the sooner I can get back to my other, more favorable books in my Currently-Reading shelf. I also had to remind myself that this is a coming-of-age story so that means, Lucas James learns something, changes or grows up from his experience by the end of the book. I have to say that I was mad when I reached the end because Lucas James did not learn anything at all. He did not grow as a person/character. He did not become a better person. He was the same old piece of shit that he started with. Not cool to claim this book as a coming-of-age story without the character developing into a better person.
A better coming-of-age story would be Jackie's story. At least she learned something and she got out of a financially and emotionally abusive relationship and now, she's with a better person who appreciates her and will always put her first. Now, who do I recommend this book for? If you are a very responsible person who gets emotional, skip this book because Lucas James will incite every negative emotion you have. If you like reading books that makes you feel negative emotions, or has unlikeable characters or you get a kick by reading about lazy, self-centered, narcissistic characters, then by all means, pick up a copy.
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