“For Steve York, life was good. He had a perfect GPA, a tight circle of friends, and a girl he loved. Now he’s flunking, stoned, and brokenhearted. The only way he’ll graduate is if he writes a hundred-page paper explaining how he got from point A to point B. In telling the story, Steve will find his way back to who he wants to be.”
People don’t change. Even when writers want them to. And that, I think, is one of the reasons why I really enjoyed reading Rats Saw God…and why I really related to the main character: Steve York.
Steve is an introvert. I wouldn’t want to waste time trying to analyze his psyche, as I’ll probably get him wrong anyway. But this is how I understood his character; he likes staying out of the spotlight because his father was always in one, his whole life. Steve is always expected to be like his father–and he doesn’t want that. Especially after what happens to his parents.
They split up. Saying who’s to blame would be moot, as it isn’t the point. The only thing we need to know here is that Steve doesn’t want to be like his father because of how the split happened, and because of what happened after.
Rats Saw God is a character study of what happens when a person lives out the life he never wanted for himself; the life he fought so hard to not have to live…the life he got nonetheless. And author Rob Thomas, of Veronica Mars fame, writes the story in way that lets the story unfold while we learn just who our character is.
It’s a great example of showing, and not telling.
Admittedly, I was scared that I would be disappointed with Rats Saw God. That’s the main reason I’ve put off reading it for so long. I’ve held Rob Thomas in such high regard since he created my favorite foreign television program of all time–the aforementioned Veronica Mars. And I didn’t want to ruin the image of a brilliant writer if this failed expectations.
But it didn’t. In fact, it’s one of the books where my expectations were met and exceeded. Rats Saw God is a precursor to the career Rob Thomas was carving before Veronica Mars became a reality. A career that is being filled with characters that jump off pages (and screens), characters that are flawed–and are all the more lovable for it. Characters that exist in the real world.
Rats Saw God is a must-read. So if you find it, buy it. Read it.