Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

18852053

There are times when Satan really gets on my nerves. Like, he’s been saying for a year that he wants to buy my soul, but every time he gets enough cash saved he decides to get his car windows tinted or something instead. he can be a real dick like that.

I came across this book on Goodreads and thought- Heeeey, I am going to read this! Not impressed with the cover, but whatever, maybe there’s some backstory as to why a cover such as this was chosen and it made sense- I’m just out of the loop. Unless… it portrays the Ice Cave  backroom activities and Stan’s basement parties? Perhaps…

Excerpt from book blurb:

Now, a high school senior, he’s a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town.

Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee.

The blurb didn’t exactly lie- Leon is a slacker even though he is in the Gifted Pool. He imagines himself “working” in the ice cream parlor for the rest of his life, and by working he really means- doing weird stuff in the back room, and have no ambition what-so-ever. There is humor, even though it didn’t make me laugh uncontrollably, or at all.. Just a smug smile now and then, and it has awkwardness… Yeah, there’s plenty of that. And there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek stereotypical parallels…

“Mayhem, right?” I asked. “True Norwegian black metal.”

And I made the devil sign, as one does whenever one utters the phrase “true Norwegian black metal”.

Aaand then… there’s Stan a.k.a Satan! Even though in the book there wasn’t exactly the really high highs and the really low lows in terms of culminations… or, maybe there was, but they didn’t move me as much, I really enjoyed the devil element. Satanism was mentioned a few times- hells, they even had a school rally to keep the Hidden Satanic Message in the yearbook for the sake of freedom of religion and what not. You get the occasional Norwegian Black Metal mention and some clarifying snippets of what Satanism isn’t or is…You know- Satanists don’t sacrifice cats, or stuff like that.

Anyway, it’s a light entertaining read which doesn’t attempt to convert you into Satanism. It’s more a “I took the satanic theme and wrote it into the YA/hormonal/life’s hard and love sucks but I will find my way- type of plot.”

Sometimes, you just have to trust that the dark lord knows what he’s doing.

So, Stan/Satan and Leon are good friends… and Leon gets those doubts whether he really should be a slacker or not because he feels disgusted with himself. Specially at the prospect of the first love moving back to Des Moines and a guy needs to be able to impress the girl, right? Stan/Satan, being the good friend he is sends Leon on a path of finding oneself… But…In the midst of Leon’s quest the Ice Cave still operates where Stan has some pretty good lines at times… Such as this:

“I’ll bet she’s getting frostbite in some scandalous places,” said Stan.

“Most likely.”

“Lo, though your hands and ears freeze in the winter winds, I say rejoice, for Hell shall burn below to keep your feet warm.”

Or… something like the below (this ties in with the whole storyline, so even I started thinking Stan might have been the devil!)

He nodded and took a long sip of the slushee. “It will pass. Soon, there will come a great plague and the halls will flow with the blood of the unbeliever.”

“Right.”

“Indubitably.”

“Naturally.”

“So let it be written, so let it be done.”

Leon, the poor fella gets so confused by the whole relationship and love scenarios. Will the first love come back or not? Until she comes back, is it OK to date another girl? And he does.. he does date another girl… Leon’s love-life and the satanic style of the whole story gave way to some pretty awesome quotes about love…

Now, I was starting to realize that love is like one of those songs where you have to play the whole thing backwards to hear all the hidden messages.

[or]

Love is like a maze of mirrors. No map can help you through it because you can never quite tell where you’re going. Also, you’re likely to see the sides of yourself that you normally don’t.

Overall- it was enjoyable, cheeky and mischievous. I think I most enjoyed all the “love” quotes the author wrote… all in a paragraph under the heading “Love”. The whole idea of the book was definitely different so kudos for that.

Rating: 3 \m/ Stars

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5 comments

    • Yeah, there was the occasional really good dialogue… I wish I would have been more like Stan, years ago, when my friends were freaked out about me reading the unholy books 😀 I could have scared the crap out of them!
      Yeah. I’m glad you agree with me on the cover… It could be so much better 🙂

      Like

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