Thursday, 27 October 2011

Review: The Lighter Side of Life and Death by c.k. kelly martin

The Lighter Side of Life and Death
c.k. kelly martin
Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 25th May 2010
My rating: 4 out of 5

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.
Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started reading The Lighter Side of Life and Death, from the blurb is sounds like a sixteen year old boys dream scenario of having an affair with an older woman (cougar alert) which in a way it was, but the way it was written by c.k. kelly martin just made the story so much more and it didn't feel particularly sordid or distasteful at any point.

Sixteen year old Mason has a "perfect" one night stand with his best friend Kat who he has secretly been in love with for years. Next day it's actually Kat who wants to forget it all happened leaving Mason completely confused and results both in their friendship ending and major awkwardness at the school lunch table. Twenty three year old Colette enters the picture, she is a friend of a friend of Mason's soon to be step mother and they sort of slowly end up in a relationship.

What I like the most about this book was that the author is never overtly judgemental, either about Colette or Kat and doesn't portray Mason as the gullible victim in the situation. It would be easy to be outraged at Colette who at 23 and who has a "sort of" boyfriend on the scene already ends up in a sexual relationship with a 16 year old man-boy. Colette does have doubts and she does know that their relationship would be frowned upon which is why it's all very secretive. It's very awkward when Mason doesn't want to ride his bike over to Colette's house as he doesn't want to highlight his age even more to Colette in fear that she will end it all. It's also very awkward when they are holding hands in the street and bump into someone Mason knows. There is none of the woo hoo I'm having it off with an older woman type behaviour that I probably expected from a teenage boy, Mason is actually quite mature about it all.

Ultimately, although the story didn't seem sordid, I couldn't quite figure out why a 23 year old woman would want to spend any time with a 16 year old boy never mind have a relationship with one, I mean Mason was nice but ultimately he is 16.

I didn't sympathise much with Kat either, she runs hot and cold with Mason and despite my head saying she would be a better girlfriend for Mason as she's his age, I wasn't entirely convinced about her. I think this might be down to the fact she is absent from most of the story.

The part that surprised me the most was Mason's fathers very understanding acceptance of his relationship with Colette. Even knowing that the relationship was ending he took it all a little too well for my liking. I would have grounded him and took his bike off him and his PlayStation! I know for a fact as a parent I would not have been so understanding and there would have been a lot of shouting.

c.k. kelly martin (why the absence of capital's in the name? I dunno) is obviously an amazing writer. Mason was a fantastically realistic character and martin seems to really get into the inner working of a teenage boy's head and get it down on paper beautifully. I have a few c.k. kelly martin books to now catch up on.


  1. Oooh I've really been wanting to read this one!!! I've never read anything by ck kelly martin...

  2. @ Bookish Brunette- I really liked it but had no real clue what it was about when I picked it up. I need to read the blurbs a bit closer in future!

  3. i'm really liking your review :)

    i enjoyed this one, but at the same time did not sympathise with kat either. i am not sure we are supposed to?

    i didnt think it was sordid either :)

    x Nomes

  4. Interesting review. I'm intrigued enough to want to read it! Actually all of ck kelly martin's books!


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