I’ve sat on this review for a couple of weeks, hoping that I would know how I felt about this book after stewing about it for awhile. I’m still not sure. I don’t know if Alissa Nutting is a fantastic writer, or if she’s a total sociopath. Either way, I honestly don’t know if I can recommend Tampa.
Told in first person, which only makes the whole thing a little crazier, Tampa tells the story of Celeste Price, an eighth grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. Her police officer husband is depicted as a buffoon, and as long as Celeste wears tight yoga pants and bends over once in a while to show him her ass, he leaves her alone, and she’s free to secretly pursue thirteen year old boys.
And yes, you read that correctly.
Celeste is a pedophile. She’s not a young math teacher in her early twenties, just out of college, falling in love with the high school senior who is days away from 18. She’s a creepy, oversexed predator who deliberately chose middle school so she could be closer to young teenage boys. She seduces them deliberately, destroys their lives, and walks away without so much as a second glance. She’s “too pretty” to go to jail, you see (Debra LaFave, anyone?), and who cares if what’s she’s doing is illegal; this is what she wants, and she’s going after it.