My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"I have reached many limits, but I have not reached my limit in wrestling. I know that for certain."
Stephen Florida is a college wrestler with one goal - to win the championship at the 133 lb weight classification in his senior year. He has been working towards this goal and will not let anything get in the way. This book is able to show what a singular, obsessive focus looks like, and what suffers, not the least of which is the person pursuing the goal.
I think the strength of this novel really shows at the end. (view spoiler)[ Stephen actually meets his goal and it is the most anticlimactic of all anticlimactic moments. He has no plans beyond it. It barely comes with cheering much less any weigh to the moment. It passes quickly and almost feels like it is beside the point in the end.
"I've waited most of my life to find out what this feeling is like. I knew it wouldn't feel like winning any of those other matches, but I thought it might feel like the opposite of losing. But it's not personal. I do not take this inside myself the way that I took years and years of falling short into myself. It does not untie those knots the way losing tied them. It's only relief. It is absence. It's pressure being taken away. The noise has stopped."It is truly difficult to understand whether or not the achievement is worth it. If spending all his energy and sacrificing everything he does, the striving, proves beneficial in the end.
"I had never guessed that wanting one thing for so long - wanting it at the cost of everything else - I never would have guessed that finally getting my hands on it could not feel really any different than how it had felt all along. How it didn't push out the boredom and the terror in.. every room I've ever spent time in."I found the ending bleak but honest. It does seem to silence the voice in his head, the Frog Man. Recently some of us in the Newest LIterary Fiction group have started discussing the book, and I've been SO intrigued by some darker theories that other readers have had, things I was oblivious to. I do not know the author's intent but feel like this book should make the ToB shortlist as it warrants ongoing discussion. (hide spoiler)]
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