The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy Paper

Downloadable Audiobook - 2013
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While preparing for the most dreaded assignment at the prestigious Irving School, the Tragedy Paper, Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy.
Publisher: [New York] : Books on Tape, 2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780804122023
0804122024
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file, 8 hr., 6 min.)

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JCLChrisK Dec 09, 2013

I wanted to like this book more than I did, though like it I did. Half of it worked for me and half of it was just okay.
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The book builds to the convergence of two stories, each working their way to an ominous tragic incident from the previous year. Duncan is beginning his senior year at a boarding school, haunted by something. In his room he finds an audio recording from Tim, the previous occupant of his room, telling his tragic story. Tim listens to Duncan's story of his senior year at the school while going about his own.
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I found Tim's story well-drawn and compelling. His is the tragedy, and it's a good one. Duncan, however, was much too sketchy, and I just couldn't find a way to connect with him. Often his interludes were just to say things like, "Duncan couldn't get to the next CD fast enough. . . . He had to pee, he was going to be late for another class, and yet he felt the need to listen was almost beyond his control, he couldn't resist it." Yet I didn't know him enough at that point to understand his compulsion, so it just felt like the author manipulating me into thinking Tim's story was interesting, which I already felt. And the big payoff of Duncan learning from Tim's tragedy didn't really impact me. It would have worked better had LaBan either left Duncan out entirely or spent much more time developing him.
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Still, Tim's story was indeed compelling, and definitely worth listening to (I did the audiobook version of this title), and Duncan's inclusion did not detract from that. Many readers, I believe, will be impacted by his tragedy and might learn something from it.

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