I have a raging head cold and fell asleep filled with medicines, and with the title of this post ricocheting around my brain. I actually googled it because I was positive that I must have read it somewhere, but other than this, nothing really showed up. The occasion? The upcoming wide release of Youth in Revolt, the film adaptation of CD Payne’s 1993 epistolary novel. (That’s the version I have; more recent editions feature Cera on the cover or are serialized.)
Anyway, I think it was 1997 when I was introduced to the book by my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Brian. He was browsing a bookstore in Burlington, VT, and happened upon it on a display table. He picked it up, read the first page, and then did that thing where he proceeded to read the next fifty or so pages standing awkwardly in the aisle, as the sun set over chilly Lake Champlain. (OK, I embellish.) He read it quickly, straight through, and then loaned it to me when next we crossed state lines to visit each other, its front and back covers still warm from his grasp. At the time, I was invested in different kinds of epistolary reading–Simone de Beauvoir’s letters to Sartre and Anais Nin’s diaries; I was an English Major and Serious about Serious Literature, particularly Female Literature, &c., &c. So I pretended, at least at first, that I had no idea what to do with the journals of a fourteen-year-old boy.
But I read it with astounding speed–I’m generally a slow reader–and enjoyed every minute of the hijinx and raging adolescent horniness. (Sheeni’s brother Paul, who will be played by Justin Long, meh-but-could-work, was especially memorable.) Another copy was procured, and I loaned it to my sister, and then to a friend, who passed it along to another friend, and meanwhile Brian had given it to his twin brother, and then his older brother, and before we knew it, we were this widening circle of Twispheads, sheepishly sharing our favorite parts. It was like, instead of forming a book club and agreeing on a book to read, we read a book, and the club just happened.
I read one of Payne’s follow-ups and can’t recall anything about it; of course it was disappointing; it had to be. Twelve years later, though, I still have a soft-spot for Youth. I’m not sure I’ll be getting tickets in advance or anything for the movie…it takes a lot to get me to the “big” movies…but I’ll gladly see it on DVD. As far as big names go, I think Michael Cera was a decent, obvious choice for Nick Twisp…but, sigh. He’ll never top George Michael from Arrested Development, and I’m not sure he’s nuanced enough to pull off a good Twisp. And according to the trailer, it seems that they’ve left out Carlotta–Twisp’s female persona and probably my favorite part of the book–altogether. Boo.
Any Twisp fans out there? Any other books that diverted you or surprised you away from, however briefly, your chosen trajectory during a formative time?