Friday, February 20, 2009
I confess: I'm that guy(girl). When I first stumbled upon a paperback copy of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, my initial thought was: "Wait...that was a book first?"
As a closet Michael Cera fan--and a public fan of movies about music-- the film has been on my "to see" list for months. Thankfully, my English Teacher Cred was rescued by this fortuitous trip to Borders, as I promised myself that I would promptly move Nick & Norah to the top of my "to read" list instead. And boy, am I glad that I did.
With its dual narrators, witty dialogue, complex (but believable) characters, an abundance of semi-underground musical references, and a jacket named "Salvatore", Nick & Norah is a very here-and-now kind of story that effectively appeals to a generation notorious for seeking instant gratification.
The novel is co-authored by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, who pen Nick & Norah's parts, respectively. Nick, the heterosexual bass-player in a queer-core band, is a sensitive, indie-rocker cutie reminiscent of Rivers Cuomo. Norah, the edgy daughter of a bigtime music-mogul, is a tough, street-savvy, rocker-chick (think early Liz Phair) who--like all teenage girls--simply cannot understand the inner-workings of boys.
The alternating narration and skillfully-combined writing styles of Levithan and Cohn create a tension and a cadence that is, appropriately, very musical in nature. I'm not sure if a non-musician would pick up on this, but to me, it was immediately obvious.
What's also immediately obvious to all, is the blatant sexuality and unabashed use of the "F" word (and the "S" word, the "A" word, the "D" word, and a few "P" words), starting on page number one. While conservative parents and/or stodgy teachers may dismiss the novel for this precise reason, I think that teenagers--older "young" adults-- will appreciate a book whose voice and situations are so reflective of their own.
I just Redboxed the movie, and will be watching it while I recover from the flu later on today. I'll let you know how it holds up.