Bookshots: 'Lolito' by Ben Brooks

Bookshots: 'Lolito' by Ben Brooks

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Title:

Lolito

Who wrote it?

'Lolito' is a fine example of how to write a transgressive novel that is about more than simply cataloguing the bad behavior of wasted youth.

Ben Brooks

Plot in a Box:

Fifteen year old Etgar discovers his girlfriend has been cheating on him right before Easter break. He spends his vacation home alone, sinking into a drug and drink addled depression until he meets a bored and lonely middle-aged mother in an adult chatroom and decides to go see her in London in the hopes of getting laid.

Invent a new title for this book:

What I Did On My Easter Vacation

Read this if you like:

Irvine Welsh

Meet the books lead:

Etgar Allison is a bored UK teenager who spends most of his time drinking and doing drugs with his friends, when he’s not surfing Facebook, watching internet porn, snuff videos, and whatever happens to be on TV. He drifts through life comfortably numb until his girlfriend’s infidelity awakens feelings that he can neither deal with nor ignore.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

David Mazouz, best known for playing young Bruce Wayne on Gotham.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

Everything looks dull, grey and dreary through Etgar’s eyes. Even the bright lights of London are barely able to excite him.

What was your favorite sentence?

“Because what else.” — a refrain often repeated by Etgar and his friends when explaining why they are doing something horrible, crazy, or stupid. I’ve never read a more apt description of the teenage condition.

The Verdict:

Lolito is one of those interesting books that, while not intended for young readers, perfectly captures the feeling of being young. Etgar’s sense of disenchantment with the world will feel strikingly familiar to anyone who has ever been a teenager. He and his friends are full of youthful vigor, but have nothing to do with it except get fucked up and cause trouble. At the same time, it provides an interesting window into how new technologies have (or haven’t) changed the young adult experience. Etgar has been so bombarded by extreme content that he is no longer capable of reacting to it—watching brutal murders on YouTube and attending the funeral of a friend’s parent barely faze him, but the knowledge that his girlfriend was unfaithful while drunk at a party totally unhinges him. When he’s not zoned out in front of the TV or writing hateful (and horrible) poetry about his ex, Etgar is a font of funny insights about the stupidity of grown-ups who don’t seem to understand the world any better than he does. While it will no doubt garner many comparisons to Nabakov’s Lolita due to its title and subject matter, that is where the similarities end. Although it details an inappropriate sexual relationship between an adult and a minor, neither party is a monster preying on the other, and the only trauma results from society’s intervention. Lolito is a fine example of how to write a transgressive novel that is about more than simply cataloguing the bad behavior of wasted youth.

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