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Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You - Peter Cameron

Sep 20, 2012
Posted by: gaycity

Although Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is billed as a work of fiction, the voice of the character and style of writing felt closer to the memoir genre. I had difficulty remembering that the main character (James) wasn’t real, and often wondered how much of James’s experiences were drawn from Cameron’s real life. As a result, it was very easy to relate to James as a character, and to connect with the experiences he goes through in the book.

Right up until the end of the story. The book covers a very short time in James’s life, just a few days really. The whole thing reminded me strongly a queer version of Catcher in the Rye. The problem for me came with the way Cameron ended the book. For some reason, he decided to add a final chapter that neatly wrapped up the story – similar to one of those coming of age movies from the 80’s that has the main character narrating the tale as an adult flashing back to his childhood. Think Stand by Me. So Cameron has this final chapter where James narrates what he goes on to do in life, and it just feels completely out of sync with the rest of the tone of the story. Which was really unfortunate, because up until that point I had enjoyed the tale immensely. Ultimately, I just didn’t enjoy Cameron’s writing style enough to make this story worthwhile.

by Susan Rees

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