Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan)

17 10 2010

This book was trash – complete and total trash, with the F-word making an appearance at least every other page and other profanities littered across the story I found it highly offensive and vulgar. I didn’t have to reaNick and Norah's Infinite Playlistd much to realize what kind of book this would become, and needless to say, I did not finish this book. I cannot respect authors who degrade the name of literature by peppering their novels with filth and immorality.” (Comment by Snorkle as read on Goodreads and My Sentiments Exactly).

Before David Levithan collaborated with John Green to write the excellent Will Grayson, Will Grayson, he joined efforts with Rachel Cohn to write Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, the ideal wordtrack for an otherwise boring train ride. Be careful not to miss your stop, though, because this book is wittier than Juno on a good day and snarkier than Jessica at TWOP when she had to recap a season 9 ep of The X-Files. In other words: FUN!!

Now,  I  don’t know about you, but I’d do about anything to read, let alone write, a novel that can get the types of reviews Snorkle there wrote! Wonderful! That said, the word fuck, does appear quite a few times in the novel, but you know, it’s totally gratuitous and degrades the name of literature and all that… Actually, Snorkle totally missed the point here,  and if he/she had actually finished the novel, they would have found out that it’s mostly because self-proclaimed potty-mouth Norah is not just snarky as hell (vulgar and immoral in Snorkle’s opinion, no doubt), but definitely more insecure than her language use would suggest at first – just like I dunno,… a teenager? The words do serve a purpose and aren’t just there for the shock value. Moreover, you’re reading a novel about 17-year-olds… do you really think they’re all innocent sweet talkers? In the over-sexualized music industry (to which Norah’s father obviously contributes as a big shot music exec) no one or hardly anyone seems to object to the seemingly endless nearly nude music videos; the ‘bitch’, ‘motherfucker’ or ‘nigger’ lyrics in R&B songs (different story, yes, but still), but oh, shame on you if you dare to use bitch or fuck in a novel about 17-year-old white kids in New York!

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is in essence a love story of 2 people thrown together by the circumstances they find themselves in. Nick is a New Jersey bassist of a nerd/queercore band with an ever-changing name (they changed the name the Fuck Offs to the Jerk Offs in the movie, btw). Nick’s just been dumped by über-bitch Tris and sees her at a gig with the next guy in line. Enter Norah, Jewish hardcore brainiac who turned down Brown to go find herself at a South-African kibbutz. This is the beginning of an almost endless night with an infinite number of songs and a carrousel of side-characters: the dreaded Ex Tal (the real Jew); Caroline (the best daughter the Silverbergs never had), Tris (über-bitch with a remarkable soft-side so we learn in a couple of lines in Norah’s narrative), etc.  There’s Nick, who, in the beginning of the night defines himself in relation to where he stands with Tris (nowhere). There’s Norah, who also defines herself in relation to a boy, her Ex Tal. But during that night they discover that what they really want to do is… they wanna hold each other’s hand. There are Norahs out there for Nick and there are Nicks out there for Norah: “The crowd is pressing in on us and the bassline is revealing everything and we are two people who are part of a lot more people, and at the same time we’re our own part. There isn’t loneliness, only this intense twoliness.” Now tell me you just didn’t go all gooey and said “Oooh”. It’s a love story, kids, but again: fun, fun, fun!

I could continue with comparing the book and the movie and go on about how the characters of Nick and Norah are a lot more developed in the book than they are in the movie (quite obvious because you get 2 I-narratives in alternating Nick and Norah chapters); that some of the side-characters are more fleshed out in the movie than they are in the book (Caroline, Nick’s band members); that it’s a pity the movie didn’t make Tris more likeable (even though she’s a complete wench in the book too, she’s definitely has a side the movie doesn’t show at all). Anyway, that’s all besides the point.

This book is a mix tape of fun, love, coincidence, wordplay, and holding each other’s hand. Read it!



2 responses

16 04 2013
Very LeFreak (by Rachel Cohn) | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] Cohn came to the cat by way of David Levithan. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares are up there with some of the coolest, hippest, and genuinely […]

27 04 2013
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci) | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] of their own (whether they be Klingon, Quiz Bowl, LARP or band-inspired). Sara Zarr, John Green, David Levithan, Garth Nix, Barry Lyga and a bunch of other secret or not so secret geeks jumped at the occasion et […]

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