Love makes people do crazy things, but it does not necessarily make you an idiot. "Idiot," by Colin Neenan, is a witty story of a 16-year-old boy and his problems in dealing with young love. Jim O'Reilly, the main character, is coerced into trying out for a part in A Midsummer Night's Dream, where he is faces a sudden realization-he is in love with his best friend, Suzanna Manning. Between dealing with the complexities of his dysfunctional family and conducting an anonymous email love affair, Jim faces adversity throughout the book.
Neenan's approach to teenage drama and high school love is well carried out. Jim's insecurities about himself as well as his penchant for jumping to conclusions are written well and believable to any reader. "Idiot" evokes a nostalgic feeling for older readers while making it easy for a younger audience to connect with the characters, by presenting common teen issues while keeping them fresh and creative. Popular issues such as sexual awareness and family troubles are exaggerated but not to the point in which it would be tough for young adults to relate to them. The characters as a whole were consistent throughout the book, which adds to the believability.
However, this book was far from perfect. At times, you may find that some of the characters can become slightly irritating from their own circular logic and jumping to conclusions. You will find yourself correcting some of the characters personality flaws and actions through your own frustration while reading. Another frustrating element of this book was the frequency of time jumps. The beginning of each chapter is set in present time while the entire book is flashbacks leading up to the end. For the first few chapters this made for a sometimes-confusing read because the time-jumps were not clearly identifiable.
This book would be best classified as a short story. It is a quick read and despite some clarity issues, it was a relatively easy read as well. With only 152 pages, readers will find themselves finishing the book in a matter of a sitting or two. Perhaps with some of the annoying characters, this is a good thing.
Parents should be careful if their children choose to read this book. While not overwhelming, there is strong sexual content with occasional references to drugs that they may feel is too much for their children to handle. It would be difficult to establish a strong, realistic story about teenage love without some of these themes present, however.
Overall, "Idiot" is a good read that readers will find enjoyable and relatable at any age. Some readers might even find that they learn something about their own desires through this introspective story, which gives you personal insight into the mind of Jim.