Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Canadian Spotlight Month: Review - The Lighter Side of Life and Death by CK Kelly Martin

The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin
Series: Standalone
Published: May 25th, 2010
Publisher: Random House
231 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the library
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

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.

The Lighter Side of Life and Death reads kind of like a journal to me. It’s told from Mason’s perspective, and I have to say I love reading books that are told from a guy’s perspective. You get a totally different outlook on life, sex, friendship, and family. But in The Lighter Side of Life and Death, the reader gets a lot of minutiae, which is why it reads like a journal to me.

Not a lot happens in the story. Mason has quite a bit of depth, but I didn’t feel like there was much character development. I wasn’t able to connect with any of the other characters - they sort of felt like random extras who were thrown in when it was convenient to move the story along. The pacing was very slow, and even though the book was only 231 pages, it took me four days to read it because I just couldn’t get that interested.

One thing I liked was that it explored something that’s considered taboo - a relationship between a teenager and an older woman. Even though there was only a seven-year age gap between Mason and Colette, Mason was only sixteen, which makes their affair pretty scandalous. I kept waiting for it to get really exciting and maybe even shocking, but again, it was kind of bogged down in the minutiae. I’ll admit there were parts that were pretty sexy, and it was even more interesting because it was from a guy’s perspective. Mason was sort of obsessive where Colette was concerned, but it wasn’t in a ridiculous teenage boy way - he was pretty mature about it, and I appreciated that.

Overall, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. It was original, had a believable storyline with a great, authentic narrative voice, but it got bogged down in the details. If you’re a fan of stories that are almost journal-like in their day-to-day happenings, and if you like contemporary young adult, especially from a male POV, consider giving The Lighter Side of Life and Death a try. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you enjoy books from a male perspective?
This post has been part of the Canadian Spotlight Month. Click the graphic below to check out the schedule and all things Canadian here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. 


  1. Hmmm, this one sounds like it could be either a hit or a miss for me. I LOVE books with male narrators, but if there's no real character growth, I might be bored! Good review though, Marie! :)

  2. This one sounds pretty interesting, especially the whole guy's journal part, but ultimately it sounds like I would have many of the same issues as you did, and it may not be the book for me.

    Great review, Marie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book :)


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