That's Not A Feeling

That's Not A Feeling

Book - 2012
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"Dan Josefson is a writer of astounding promise a . . . a bold, funny, mordant, and deeply intelligent debut." -- David Foster Wallace , author of Infinite Jest

New York Times Editors' Choice

Benjamin arrives with his parents for a tour of Roaring Orchards, a therapeutic boarding school tucked away in upstate New York. Suddenly, his parents are gone and Benjamin learns that he is there to stay. Sixteen years old, a two-time failed suicide, Benjamin must navigate his way through a new world of morning meds, popped privileges, candor meetings and cartoon brunches--all run by adults who themselves have yet to really come of age.

The only person who comprehends the school's many rules and rituals is Aubrey, the founder and headmaster. Fragile, brilliant, and prone to rage, he is as likely to use his authority to reward students as to punish them. But when Aubrey falls ill, life at the school begins to unravel. Benjamin has no one to rely on but the other students, especially Tidbit, an intriguing but untrustworthy girl with a "self-afflicting personality." More and more, Benjamin thinks about running away from Roaring Orchards--but he feels an equal need to know just what it is he would be leaving behind.
Publisher: New York, NY : Soho Press, Inc., 2012.
ISBN: 9781616951887
Characteristics: 358 p. ; 21 cm.


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This book is a bit of a farce set in a boarding school in upstate New York. The headmaster is making the rules up as he goes along and every one has quirks and an angle. It's a funny, somewhat sad (or melancholy) read. Recommended by Jeffrey

Apr 02, 2013

I liked the title, and the cover illustration. I thought they both accurately conveyed what the story was about.

The novel reminded me of a grade-school reader: small words, concrete nouns.

I do wonder about the omniscient narrator, but told in the first-person. None of the characters are very interesting or sympathetic, least of all Benjamin.

jeanner222 Feb 27, 2013

Our story begins with our narrator’s arrival at Roaring Orchards, a “therapeutic” boarding school in upstate New York. Benjamin has a history of suicide attempts and needs help, but Roaring Orchards is the last place he should be.

Founded by a complete kook, Roaring Orchards is, in a word, inexplicable. In fact, no employee can explain the school’s philosophy. Full of bizarre rituals and puzzling jargon, R.O. is no place for any child, troubled or otherwise.

Benjamin’s account of his experience is, at times, humorous. At other times, his story is disturbing. Frankly, I’m not sure what the author intended with this novel.


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