Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson

If you never had to sleep just think of all the things you could do. If you didn’t get tired but could stay up all night to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? Oh the possibilities. Think of all those things you’ve wanted to do but didn’t because you were just too exhausted. Well, 15 year old Eric Lederer has lived one consecutive day, never sleeping, always conscious, for as long as he can remember. But someone dangerously mysterious comes looking for him.

Pierson’s novel is hilarious. I laughed. My husband laughed at the quotes I read him. Written from Darren’s perspective (Eric’s best friend) the novel captures the daily lives of two nerdy, sci-fi loving teenagers. I enjoyed Darren’s reactions to Eric’s secret ranging from disbelief to awe. This novel felt really present to me. Pierson is able to capture suburban culture very well perhaps, I think, because he is such a young writer. It’s like he speaks my language (culturally speaking). The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep explores all the aspects of an average young adults’ life as well as some unusual ones. I could relate to the Red Bull chugging, video-game playing, suburban existence of these kids. Ultimately, I think Pierson’s novel is a coming of age story about friendship.

This is a very 21st-century novel. The text is graphic at least twice about sex. The language is very colorful. And drugs are involved in their attempts to test Eric’s sleepless limits. I’ll have to say that I am usually pretty turned off by these elements. And the text would have been great without the raciness because there is a good story to tell. But Pierson is a great writer and doesn’t use language and sex in a merely gratuitous way. It feels like a natural part of these boys’ lives, like what many teenagers do and witness, as they stumble along the growing up cycle. This is not a YA book, isn’t marked as one, and so I don’t recommend it for young teens lest you hand it to yours and become shocked by what your kids start saying. It makes me sad because this book is so funny. But there you have it.

My favorite part of this book (besides the humor) is the creative story-line. This kid really never sleeps and it leads to a whole lot of wild and bizarre adventures across the Arizona desert. My least favorite part was the ending. It wasn’t bad just not what I wanted/expected. It reminds me of the end of an X-files episode where Agent Scully effectively debunks the abnormal happening but Agent Moulder finds the wiggle room to still believe. That’s an inadequate analogy but the best I can do without spoiling anything!
Publisher: Vintage Books, 2010     Pages: 227
Rating: 3.5 Stars     Source: IC Public Library     Recommended Age: 18 and up


  1. I really like the sound of this one. Thanks for a great review.

  2. This sounds good. I might have to read it. As for what I'd do - read a LOT more! ;-)

  3. Oh, think of all the reading I could catch up on if I didn't have to sleep! Sounds awesome! *L*