Tampa by Alissa Nutting


To say I enjoyed reading Tampa by Alissa Nutting would be a shameless oversimplification of the experience, maybe to the point of being an outright lie.

As far as books go Tampa has been one of the more 'hyped' titles of recent times. So naturally, I ran to the nearest screen and ordered my copy off Amazon. The stigma surrounding the character of the female pedophile as protagonist set-up is only made more offensive by the raw and sickeningly erotic language used by Nutting in her prose.

We follow Celeste Price from the first day of her new job at a school and through her romantic entanglements that lead, inevitably, to her downfall. The book is wholly compelling for the same reason it has been condemned - the shock value, and the broaching of a societal taboo when it comes to discussions of female pedophilia.

I am personally intrigued by all things considered taboo, especially with regards to criminality, because I am interested in the mental process that causes someone to commit a crime or to transgress the legal and morally acceptable. From that point of view, Tampa provides, not an explanation of Celeste's fixation, but an insight into the train of consciousness of a committed and dangerous pedophile (even if she does not fit the classic 'pedophile' mould that many will conjure up in their mind's eye)/

Her systematic ruthlessness pretty much pulls you through the novel in a confused daze. Before you've even had a chance to digest what you've just read, Celeste is planning her next exploits.

I would strongly recommend this book, but only for those who are not easily offended. It's explicit tone and unsentimental look at perverted relationships make it difficult reading even for the most seasoned book lover.

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