"Hadn’t I already begun to suspect that with feelings, as with revolutions, the more spontaneous-seeming were actually the outcome of long and involved tactical maneuvers? And if, unfortunately, you had to make do without being ‘natural,’ wasn’t it better to act as consciously, as deliberately, and therefore as forcefully as possible? Just because a feeling had been painstakingly pieced together didn’t mean it was worthless, nor was it necessarily shallow; as far as I could see from the time I’d spent on school playgrounds, or at parties, leaning up all night against the kitchen sink, glancing anxiously around the room, a smile plastered to my face like a dirty Band-Aid that had come half unstuck and that must soon be torn off in pain, this teenage ‘living in the moment’ was in fact secondhand — it had been taught, and by teachers who as role models left much to be desired."
This comes out of the hero’s quote of ‘Nowhere Fast,’ by the Smiths — the line from the chorus about having a natural emotion — and it catches both the fevered overreading of all those hyperemotional cues that introverted isolated teenagers do, along with the little bit of self-consciousness that allows him to know he’s overreading. And the book, all big-printed 96 pages of it, is a bravura performance, one huge paragraph of teenaged interior monologue, a provocative pose of an infatuation with the retarded girl across the street. But for all the realism of the voice, the situation and complexity of the interior monologue isn’t entirely plausible: it’s recognizable, but the tiniest shade off key.