Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Exposure by Mal Peet

When I picked up Exposure at the library I internally groaned and several fears cropped up before I got past the book jacket blurb. First of all, it has sports in it and I don’t “do” sports. And not just any sport but soccer (yeah, I'm American =) of which I know nothing about. Then I made the connection to Shakespeare’s Othello and worried about having not read the play. Then there was a celeb chick on the cover in a strappy dress and dangly earrings. 

Exposure was nothing I expected and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At every chapter I expected the themes to shallow or the prose to deteriorate. The prose was excellent throughout. The themes were dealt with realistically despite the unusual and extravagant lifestyles of the characters. Celebrity is an unusual phenomenon, especially when popular individuals do not seek fame or do nothing particularly excellent to warrant huge fan bases. The novel explores the phenomenon of fame and how people come into it and how they deal with it. Dezi and Otello seemed like real people coping as best they could in situations they never expected to be in.
Summary:"This is the third "Paul Faustino" novel by multi-award-winning Mal Peet. A massive soccer star has it all, but someone is plotting his downfall...Revered as a national hero...married to the desirable Desmerelda...cherished by the media...soccer star, Otello, has it all. But a sensational club transfer sparks a media frenzy, and when he is wrongly implicated in a scandal, the footballer's life turns into a tragic spiral of destruction. South America's top sports journalist, Paul Faustino, witnesses the power of the media in making and breaking people's lives." "

Teenagers, much like Bianca (a teenage street rat), become enamored with celebrities. They look up to these fashionable trend setters with expensive toys who appear to have the world at their fingertips. With reality T.V. we do get a glimpse at some celebrities’ lives. But we know that they know we are watching and that they are being paid to perform a role that may or may not be who they are. Exposure shows a negative reality that accompanies fame which is often masked or overlooked in the media. By changing perspectives in the novel, seeing celebrities through the eyes of several characters from different walks of life, Peet shows the three dimensional lives of the rich and famous and the many people affected by their fame.

There are so many aspects of this book – the racial issues, the class divides, the consuming quest for success, balancing family relationships and literary comparisons – that make Exposure one I want teens to read. Luckily, I won’t feel like I’m pushing an “issue” book. Exposure is a mix of mystery, pop culture and foreign culture which was interesting to me. Being fun to read is the icing on the cake. There is great substance to the story but I still had fun reading it. Actually, I think Exposure is an excellent adult read, too. I'm looking forward to reading more by Peet!

This title counts towards the POC Reading Challenge!
Publisher: Candlewick, 2009     Pages: 448
Rating: 5 Stars     Source: IC Public Library

1 comment:

  1. I loved Peet's Tamar and have been meaning to read more by him ever since - looks like you have decided for me where to go next :P