The Fever is told through the eyes of the Nash family: Father Tom is a teacher at Dryden High School who supports his two children, Eli & Deenie. He's been hurt by being abandoned and betrayed by his ex-wife and the mother of his children. He faces every day challenges in not becoming a sexual deviant lusting after the teenaged girls in his class whose bodies bloom like flowers every year they attend school. He truly feels that his kids are drifting slowly away from him, and there's not a whole lot he can do about it but to be there if they need his help.
Nash is a star hockey player and perhaps a bit of a player who is at the center of this story in a way that may or may not surprise you. He's seen his sister change, along with her friends coming onto him. Even though he lives at home, it doesn't stop his sexual appetite. Through Nash's eyes, readers get some idea of what it means to be a teenaged boy surrounded by girls whose bodies metamorphose right before their very eyes.
16 year old Deenie is apparently experiencing a world filled with typical teenaged angst, betrayal, sex, abandonment by her own mother, and the ever changing landscape of friendships that change at the drop of a hat, or an innuendo, or supposed secret. Deenie's best friends are at the center of this entire story. What happens to them, and why, sends Deenie on a search for answers.
I have to be totally honest with you, I had a hard time trying to decide what to say in this review without totally spoiling it for other readers. In fact, I was hoping for a mini-blogging conference in order to talk to other reviewers about their thoughts on the certain aspects of the story. I am hoping that more people read this story so that we can discuss Abbott's twisted little story and maybe I'll come back and edit my review in the near future. Maybe.
I have been left with many, many questions, and not enough answers. I would say that there is a bit of realism to this book, but it is also quirky, and perhaps a little over the top with the supposed mystery, and how she eventually exposes the truth. I think Abbott does get the whole point of parent's losing their minds when not enough information is given to them by school officials, local governments, and agencies who are more interested in protecting their own little secrets.
When speculation runs rampant, as it does throughout this story, parent's don't have a choice but to jump to unnecessary and wrong conclusions about what is happening to their children and whether or not schools are a truly safe place for them to be. I think, perhaps, that this was the best part of the story. The realism of the situation that teachers, parents, students, and administrators had to juggle through in order to discover what really happened, and why.
I started writing down questions as I was reading so I could filter through them as I went along:
Was the author trying to make a statement about older schools and the hazards they MAY contain? She reveals some starting things about this fictional school, and what the health department finds in it. If so, is she advocating safer schools, or homeschooling for more children? I'd personally love to read her thoughts on this issue.
Was she trying to make an an environmental statement by introducing a lake that was filled with Toxins, yet kids found their way to it anyway? If so, where is this story set? I know a Lake in New York State that has been filled with Toxins for years thanks to the local conglomerate college dumping "cooling waters" into the once beautiful lake where you could swim without feeling dirty afterwards. It's interesting that Dryden, the setting for this story, is also the name of a small community outside of this contaminated lake in New York.
Was she trying to make a point about the HPV series of vaccinations and whether or not it truly is necessary for teenaged and younger girls to have before they can attend school or before they become sexually active? I think certain parents have gone a little overboard in their dislike for vaccinations. I will say without hesitation or reservation that I would vaccinate my kids against childhood diseases and feel comfortable with my decision. There are too many diseases like polio, and chicken pox, diseases that were supposedly eradicated decades ago, that are making a coming back. I am still waiting for the next shoe to drop and a major pandemic to his this country.
Was Abbott trying to say that love sucks and you can't trust your own heart to make the right choices because it will make you do stupid and crazy shit? I think that this, perhaps, is the best explanation for the underlying story that you have to dig through in order to get the truth about what really happens. It does take the entire story for readers to finally become enlightened as to what really happened.
In the end, this is my first experience with Abbott's writing, and I have to say I am perhaps a bit hesitant in saying that I would read her next book. I think she gets the whole community tearing itself apart over paranoia, rumors, and innuendos, as well as how far certain people would go in order to hurt supposed friends they believe betrayed them and broke their hearts. She does a fairly decent job in forcing the reader to face adolescence, friendship, sexy, drugs, and family circumstances.
Author - Megan Abbott
Title - The Fever
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Released: June 17, 2014
Format: E-Book 320 pages