by Alissa Nutting


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In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062280589
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 177,709
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Alissa Nutting is an assistant professor of English at Grinnell College. She is the author of the story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, as well as the novel Tampa.

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Tampa 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
Tampa.Alissa Nutting. ARC supplied by Netgalley. Mostly I'm a paranormal/fantasy/romance reader but I like to stretch my mind with something different sometimes – something thought provoking. Well Tampa certainly does that. It makes us look at our perceptions of acceptable behaviours and think how? Why? What should we do? Celeste is a high school teacher, married to Ford, a policeman though there doesn't seem to be any passion there. I get the impression its his money that she was attracted to and her appearance that hooked him. She's described by her father in law as a “trophy wife” and she's very, very keen to keep her appearance youthful, spending a fortune on high end cosmetics for that purpose. She a very clever manipulator as we can see from the text, its told completely from her POV which allows us access to her thought processes. So far she just sounds like an attractive but shallow teacher doesn't she? But she hides a huge secret – she's sexually attracted to schoolboys, those around fourteen, before they develop any sign of maturity, and at the start of each school year she picks out carefully which one she's going to target. She takes into account their backgrounds solely to ensure they are unlikely to report her ,or be caught out by family watching their behaviour. We see just what thoughts she has and how she goes about the process of selection. It's like being inside her head listening to her thinking what she needs to do. She's amazingly single minded, to the point where seduction of her chosen victim – and I use that phrase deliberately – becomes an all consuming obsession. Clearly she's got psychological problems, and yet like so many paedophiles she's very clever at manipulating people and circumstances to her best advantage. Poor Jack is her target at the start of the novel and slowly she lures him in. They quickly become sexually active, and she's has a stroke of luck when he discloses he lives with his father, and he's at work often after school so they have the house to themselves. Of course they have a time when they're almost caught ,and Celeste begins a very strange time where she convinces Jack father that she's his girlfriend, and that allows her to spend even more time there. Jack is convinced they're in love and will marry when he's eighteen. I feel so so sorry for him. Of course things go wrong, Jack moves away and Celeste picks up a new victim. Jack is able to return periodically so she's using both boys without the other knowing. Its a real study in how carefully child groomers work to seduce and convince kids they are wanted and loved, and that everything is done consensually when of course in reality they don't have the full story, or the maturity to see they are just being used. Sadly its a sharp look at life when all falls apart and Celeste is caught. Everyone is shocked at she's such a model teacher, good looking wife etc – its as if we only think of child molesters as sleezy, grubby, easily recognized characters ,when in reality they can be anyone. Even in her teaching lessons she obsesses about sex, talking about Romeo and Juliet, lord of the flies etc and bringing the sexual side in. She uses essays to discover what attracts her chosen boy to females, so she can emulate their choice. The kids love her as they see her as one of them and that's one of the dangers. Because she does well with them the other teachers assume all is well. Its a sharp reminder we need to look beyond the surface of people and see what they are really doing. At her trial there a part which mad me really sad, a bad reflection of society and yet very, very true. Her solicitor pushes the jury towards the view that 14 year old boys are ruled by their hormones, and that they made advances to her, and that most kids (and adult men) would envy them being sexually active with such a good looking young woman. I can see that as an argument used in reality. :( We're shocked at girls being groomed and yet a boy groomed by an attractive lady – its “whoa, good for you mate!” kind of attitude. We need to change that quickly. Alissa goes on to show us a bit about how badly affected the boys are – especially Jack who threw his emotions whole heartedly in and now has guilt feelings about what happened, including his part in what happened with his father. Its something that would be hard to recover from, and if it were real I think he'd need a great deal of help to get past it. It left me wondering what made Celeste this way, someone doesn't suddenly turn to kids for sex, there must have been some indications somewhere before it got this far? Something that happened to her maybe? Abusers are often abuse victims themselves. Sadly we also see how lightly she gets off at the end (IMO anyway) and how all the restrictions on keeping her from schools etc doesn't stop her getting in contact with more kids for sex. Its a sad story, really well written and realistic. Its not one I'd re read but was incredibly moving thinking about what went on, why she was as she was, what would happen to the boys after, and why the trial went as it did. I could relate it easily to a real event, everything was so carefully written and full of realism. It felt like reading a factual tale of something that had happened. It left me feeling sad for all of them, all those affected, the boys and their families, and even Celeste in a way, as though she was caught she didn't get the help she clearly needed, and went on with her sad and dangerous obsession. Stars: its rare I give full stars for a book I'll only read once but this one deserves it., so five it is
JustineLynn More than 1 year ago
I am only 30 pages in, but I definitely know that I'll be recommending this book to anyone with a strong stomach. Normally I'll read anything, from Stephen King to Jodie Piccoult, however this is realllly out of my comfort zone.I was on page 8 when I put my nook down and called my husband to rant.. I've read books like the Exorcist and have never been as horrified as I was reading this.. I just HAVE to see where this book goes... So far it's been worth the 2.99 I paid for it. We shall see what happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And stuff like this happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Goodness. This is definitely a book that everyone’s going to have an opinion about. Never mind whether or not they’ve actually read the book, they’ve got something to say! Alright, so this book was a little difficult to read. Well, not so much difficult as uncomfortable. Yes, that’s it. I was uncomfortable, but who wouldn’t be? (That’s totally a redundant question, by the way.) I knew the book was pushing boundaries and going for that shock value (let’s be honest, right?). I didn’t quite expect something as graphic as what I got, but I should have known better. I felt torn between whether or not the vulgarity of the book was necessary (it’s generally harder to imagine a woman in such a position) or just purely shock. In the end, I sided with necessary. I think Celeste needed to be painted as she was to really convey that she was as much of a sexual predator/monster as a man could be. That being said, there’s a very fine line between necessary and shock value here. It was well written. It was disturbing, especially in the “I probably shouldn’t like this. Maybe I should. I don’t know! There’s way too much grey area here… but I do like it!” kind of way. And just to clarify, this is a good book. I don’t condone Celeste’s behavior, whether male or female, so it makes it somewhat strange to enjoy about something I am so against. Weird, I tell you! By the end of the book, I was slightly disappointed. I’m not sure exactly how I wanted it to end, but it certainly wasn’t like it did. I suppose, though, that the ending was, unfortunately, pretty realistic. While the review was hard for me to write… because really, I don’t know how to express how I feel after reading something like this, it was an easy book to rate. I enjoyed reading it and would certainly recommend it. That recommendation, though, would come with a warning that it is pretty vulgar and cringe-inducing. Be sure to check out all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
Tampa by Alissa Nutting is not a book for everyone.  In fact, it might not be a book that you even want to read.  It's rated 3.33 on Goodreads.   But I'm giving this weirdly uncomfortable book 4 stars.  Why?  Because only great writers make you feel REALLY uncomfortable with the topic you are reading about.   Let me explain. . .  Celeste is a (fictional) teacher in Tampa, Florida.  She's 26, gorgeous, married to a wealthy handsome man, and is so excited to start teaching English!   Why is she so excited?  She wants to sleep with a fourteen-year-old male student and she can't wait to meet "the one," who turns out to be her student, Jack.  This book is sexually explicit.  Which isn't always a problem for people (See 50 Shade of Twilight Fan Fiction crap that was a bestseller.  Seriously, it's Twilight Fan Fiction.  Google it if you don't believe me.).   In Tampa, there IS a problem with the sexual explicitness: it's with a 14-year-old and a 26-year-old.  And it makes you feel REALLY uncomfortable.   But Alissa Nutting did a good job writing this book to make you feel that way on purpose.  Eliciting a reaction (positive or negative) out of your readers is a goal of writing, and no one can deny that Alissa did that well.  I gobbled up Tampa, felt very disturbed by Celeste, but would read another book by Alissa Nutting in a heartbeat.   Not-really-related side note: In one short scene in the novel, Celeste and her husband are on the phone, and Celeste says, "Isn't it against the law to be on your phone while you drive?"  Her husband responds, "Not while you're driving the cop car, sweets."  Just FYI for all of you (and to Alissa!!), it's not against the law to be on your cell phone (or text) in Florida while driving.  While it's not really related to the book, it bugged me enough to want to add it here.      Thanks to Leah @ Books Speak Volumes & Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader for passing the book along!   So, is this book for you or is it one you will skip? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book because it was certainly very unusual. I really liked the idea of seeing things from a pedophile's standpoint which is what made this book so good. I found it hard to put down and couldn't wait to see what happened next.
Anonymous 13 days ago
JMTJTC 10 months ago
"I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I’m deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect." Book Info Genre: Dark Fiction Number of Pages: 272 Perspective: First Location: Tampa, FL Content warning: Tampa is about a sociopath pedophile, Celeste, as she starts her first day as an eighth grade English teacher. Her chosen career path is only to satisfy her fetish: fourteen-year-old boys. TL;DR: Very disgusting, intriguing, and worth a read for the dialogue it starts. Rating: 4/5 Full review: http://judgingmorethanjustthecover.com/2019/03/review-tampa-alissa-nutting.html
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
No one should EVER read this book. Still, why didn't I give it 1 star? Two reasons. 1) the prose is lovely. I love Ms. Nutting's writing style. 2) I do believe there's value in telling the story of a female pedophile. So many times, society gives female sexual predators a pass and dismiss the boy's victimization as something empowering. It's something I've always abhorred. Young boys need as much protection and have as much emotional damage from forced/coerced (and yes, sex with a minor is always forced/coerced) sex. But where this book completely lost me is that Ms. Nutting describes the sex in detail and the last thing I want to read about is sex with a minor. Didn't need the graphics and believe it detracted from the message.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
Rarely do I encounter a novel as unique—or as perversely taboo—as this one. Celeste Price, the narrator and protagonist of Tampa, is a beautiful, blonde, 20something eight grade English teacher who is married to an attractive, wealthy police officer. She is also a voracious pedophile who lusts after the 14-year-old boys she teaches. It might be logical to presume that Celeste, in telling her tale, would rationalize her desires, obfuscate, make excuses, or otherwise try to justify her thoughts, feelings, and actions. That is not, however, the case. Despite all of her reprehensible flaws and immorality, Celeste is brutally, icily honest about her lust for pubescent males. She knows she’s awful, and she offers no apologies for her deviant appetites. She is, in fact, quite aware of her libido and the potential consequences—she chooses her targets with great precision and plans her seductions meticulously. She also engages in wild fits of paranoia. And she has a biting, bitter sense of humor that almost—but not quite—makes her just the least bit sympathetic. But the most flattering thing to be said of her character is that she is not an unreliable narrator. While she is quite focused on deceiving her husband, her colleagues, and her administrators about her secret desires, she is utterly frank with the reader. And that stark honesty is just as responsible as her pedophile libido for creating the unease evoked by reading this novel. Not only does the explicit taboo of the narrative create a virtually pornographic guilt within the reader, but Celeste lures us into her confidence, thus implicating us in her immorality as well. We alone are privy to her depravity. Needless to say, this is quite an uncomfortable read. Ultimately, Nutting’s skill as a writer (especially as the creator of such a compelling antihero) triumphs over the novel’s sometimes incredulous plot—a few unanticipated consequences conveniently propel the narrative, and the resolution is not entirely plausible. But Nutting’s style is intriguing enough to spark interest in her future efforts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this book felt like I was keeping a dirty little secret. Progressing through the book evokes a variety of emotions, and I felt as though the characters had enough dynamic to relate to their emotions. Though I won't recommend this to my friends personally because of its content, it was a good read and I really had a hard time putting it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contains some of the most vile and uncomfortable content I've ever read. However, I couldn't put it down! I read the entire thing in less than 2 days. Definitely an easy to read and engaging story, but I would strongly recommend it to those with "strong stomachs", as another reviewer mentioned. Celeste is easily recognizable as a dispicable human being and watching her story play out is sure to keep you hanging on to every last word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down!  I literally tore through it in two days (I'm a slow reader!)  The first 20 pages or so are shocking and twisted -- not the kind of stuff I'd normally read, but it sucked me in real fast.  The book is very well written.  I live in Tampa and am remember when Debra Lafave was in the news -- this book is loosely based off  those events.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who can handle it.  It certainly provided for interesting dinner conversation when out with friends the other night!!  My only criticism is that the book should've been given a different title.  Yes, the story was based off an event that happened in Tampa, but really this book could've been set anywhere and the title "Tampa" doesn't have much if anything to do with this fictional story.  Brave to Alissa Nutting on her first novel!!!
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Its a sick book but nicely written in the way of how much of an eye opener it is. There are people who get arrested everday for this, why didn't we see the signs ahead of time? More importantly, how is this still happening? Right now its happening. Tomorrow it'll happen. This book is gross in the way of teens getting seduced and the details of her fantisies and the sexual contact. It is however an obvious book that makes you think about our system and what happens. I started reading it because I heard it was a banned book. I didn't read the plot or anything on it. Its worth reading. It does have a twisted plot that makes you go "What the?" And another at the end. I was surprised. **reviewed by B.Amazing**
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