The Ordinary White Boy

The Ordinary White Boy Lamar Kerry Jr is an unlikely hero At twenty seven years old he can t dance unless he s had than a few drinks His wardrobe is uninspired at best He has returned after college to Little Falls his mi

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Lamar Kerry, Jr is an unlikely hero At twenty seven years old he can t dance unless he s had than a few drinks His wardrobe is uninspired, at best He has returned after college to Little Falls, his miserable, working class hometown in upstate New York, deflating everyone s expectations of him in so doing He s over educated, overconfident, fundamentally bright, bLamar Kerry, Jr is an unlikely hero At twenty seven years old he can t dance unless he s had than a few drinks His wardrobe is uninspired, at best He has returned after college to Little Falls, his miserable, working class hometown in upstate New York, deflating everyone s expectations of him in so doing He s over educated, overconfident, fundamentally bright, but mostly going nowhere When the town s only Latino, Lamar s former high school classmate, goes missing and is feared dead, Lamar done with being a disappointment to his father and his girlfriend decides to break out of the ordinary by solving the case, the roots of which may be in the town s racist undercurrent Will the ordinary white boy achieve the extraordinary in Little Falls In a voice both tender and biting, Brock Clarke mingles subtle social criticism with laugh out loud funny observations, crafting in Lamar a character both unforgettable and universal, a character that will live long and proud in American literature.

One thought on “The Ordinary White Boy”

  1. Irony is alive and well in upstate New York. This is an amusing and entertaining tale that comes off sounding like the wise-ass little brother of Jernigan by David Gates. Lamar Kerry Jr. does not know pain, and even goes as far as to get himself beaten up, because he feels that he deserves it. He is an "ordinary white boy", who is not happy with his ordinariness. By the end he's more comfortable with being ordinary, but he has learned a few things along the way, like humility and the value of ha [...]

  2. I first learned about Brock Clarke, and subsequently his novels, because he was my creative writing professor for four quarters at the University of Cincinnati. Therefore, having known him personally, I had preconceived notions about what his writing might be like. He was an enjoyable teacher, and I found him funny, and because I liked some of the books I had to read for his classes (Motherless Brooklyn,The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), I really hoped I would love his books, but because of other b [...]

  3. andalittlewine/2013/01/review-ordinary-white-boy-by-brockThe blurb on the back of Brock Clarke's The Ordinary White Boy could be about me:At twenty-seven years old he can't dance unless he's had more than a few drinks. His wardrobe is uninspired, at best. He has returned after college to Little Falls, his miserable, working-class hometown in upstate New YorkAnd we love to read about ourselves don't we?I've been told, and to a sense I agree, that the history of literature is too often regarded as [...]

  4. Very early in The Ordinary White Boy one thing becomes clear: the protagonist, Lamar Kerry, Jr regards himself as anything but ordinary. Contrary to his claims, he sees himself as the one extraordinary person trapped in a very ordinary town. So why not move? Maybe he secretly enjoys his perceived superiority. He regards just about everyone in the town, girlfriend and family included, with condescension. To him, they are a variety of uneducated, racist, ridiculous characters to be analyzed. Lamar [...]

  5. I forever will think of this book as "Wordy White Boy", rather than its given title, because no matter what else this book has going for it, that is what I have taken away from it. Clarke takes his main character on a journey from slacker to well, I'm not convinced that he ever actually arrived anywhere. There's lots of talk, both inner dialog and between characters, as Lemar Jr acknowledges his ordinariness and attempts to go beyond that (and I do mean LOTS of talk), but is there any resolution [...]

  6. An ordinary story about a very ordinary (read: boring) white boy.There were some bizarre dialogs that I enjoyed in this book.But Lamar sigh. Nowhere as fascinating as the do-nothing Peter Gibbons of Office Space (who at least did something). I guess it's as well some interesting descriptions of some of the smaller places in US - too small to live in, and that Lamar seems to get too. For most of the book I was internally screaming "get out of there and get a life", the rest wondering if he'd actu [...]

  7. The Ordinary White Boy was set near where I grew up. The main character even ends up in the county where I was born & raised in NY state for a chapter or two. I could relate to the main character just a little too much for my own comfort. While I found the book to be generally well written I felt the ending was a bit limp. It almost felt as if Clarke got bored of writing it so he just ended it abruptly on the fly. Despite hitting a little too close to home at times I did enjoy it (up until t [...]

  8. Well--this book was okay, but all throughout, I kept revising and condensing all the paragraphs and sentences. Clarke falls prey to the (unfortunately predominant) bad habit of over-elaboration, and keeps (in my opinion unnecessarily) switching from past to present to future tense--like he'll tell you everything about a topic, then introduce a character who tells him "everything I just told you" instead of just letting it happen--for sake of what? But for all I know, this was the editor's fault, [...]

  9. You either love or hate this book. I find Brock Clarke to be a master of analyzing the inane thoughts that some of us have on a daily basis and putting them on paper. It is the story of a boy who isn't too special, but unique in his own way who wakes up one day to find that something has changed. He goes on a journey to find himself. Whether he does or not (based on the reviews on this site) depends on how you see things! I love Brock Clarke and all of his other books as well - his short stories [...]

  10. Reminiscent of "Lucky Jim" and "A Catcher in the Rye." Here you have an ordinary white boy, fresh out of college, still unsure of what he wants out of life (which basically means he doesn't yet know what life expects of him) so he does the one thing that comes natural for him - he runs away rather than become embroiled in a small town race war. The end result is a compassionate, and honest account of people settling for what they have as opposed to always wondering what they could have had.

  11. As my wise friend, ED, said, "Maybe you shouldn't put 'Ordinary' in the title, because then it is." I guess I shouldn't put that in quotes because it's actually a paraphrase, but I think she'll beokay with it! This book was not that great.

  12. I kept thinking - I'd never act like this. I'd get frustrated with the narrator. To make it worse, the narrator seemed to feel the same. It kept my interest until the end - enjoyable, but not great.

  13. The book went somewhere, but not very far. Very slow, prolonged, and unnecessarily wordy. If you've already started reading it, I'm sorry. If you were thinking about it, don't.

  14. a middle class white boy, after ups and downs, resolves to be an ordinary white boy (as opposed to a daring other kind of person).

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