Customer Reviews for

A Stranger on the Planet

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Portrait of a Man Trying to Find Himself

    Throughout the book Seth seems to have only two real friends; Rachel, his lesbian girlfriend and his sister Sarah. It is Rachel who Seth seems to really love and maybe it is because he can't really have her the way he wants. Rachel helps give him ideas to write a short story called A Stranger On the Planet. Rachel gets very angry that Seth used her most emotional moment of her life to include in the story, though the characters and names are different. This story turns out to be the best thing Seth ever wrote and the author includes it on the last pages of the book.

    Throughout the book, Seth keeps searching for ways to improve his relationships with his mother, father and Rachel. His other relationships are total failures especially one with Molly who he was married to for a short time. This book would definately be a good college read because the class could discuss all Seth's different relationships and why they are and why Seth is so determined to change them, ignoring other important things in his life.

    I liked most of the book but I kept wanting to slap Seth across the face and shake some sense into him about things that appear obvious.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a character driven family drama

    In 1963, the Shapiro couple divorce. Their dad begins a new family; for the most part leaving his three children to live with their dysfunctional mother. Over the next six years following the split, twelve years old Seth, his twin sister Sarah and their younger brother Seamus struggle with their mother Ruth's horrific behavior abetted by their maternal grandfather and aunt who believe divorce as the original sin. Ruth or Aunt Rhoda setting her up seems to date a series of losers as boyfriends. In 1969 Ruth's latest misadventure culminates with her marrying Eddie Lipper sixteen days after they met in the Catskills.

    As the years go by teenage Seth is embarrassed by his mom's outrageous behavior and her emotional needs that feel like a vampire sucking out his soul. As Seth becomes an adult, he keeps distance in his relationships until he marries Molly. However though he loves her, he remains detached from her. Tragedy brings the SSSS brood back together for the first time in years; Seth tries to tell them how he feels but has spent most of his life avoiding the emotional havoc caused when you love someone one.

    This is a character driven family drama with most of the insightful story line narrated by an increasingly emotionally distant Seth. His siblings and mom are well drawn support players while his father is rightfully somewhat shadowy as expected for someone who Seth believes deserted his kids when they were very young. Although Seth's late revelation feels contrived, readers will appreciate the child is the adult as Adam Schwartz provides a profound psychological study of a man who is a stranger in many ways with his family.

    Harriet Klausner

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