Thanks for the Trouble by Tony Wallach is about a teenage boy who doesn't speak and the supposedly (No way, right? Maybe? Possibly?) immortal girl he falls in love with. In other words, it is the type of book that – in my experience – is either fantastic or utterly unreadable. So, after unearthing the novel in the hallowed halls of Barnes&Noble and thinking to myself precisely what I expressed in the portrait above, I resolved to examine the first chapter for signs of life. Having read Wallach's We All Looked Up in my recent bibliophilic history, I had high hopes.
Thankfully, mercifully, I was not disappointed. The volume's first three pages gave me just what I sought, the assurance that – despite subject matter that carries its own unfortunate expectations – (paranormal romance or romance in general, take your pick) this would be a reasonable literary experience. And so it was. The novel's protagonist and perhaps even hero, Peter Santé, was brilliant. He was honest and awkward. He was the sort of character I wanted to sit down and chat with – speaking aloud or otherwise. Zelda, his silver-haired counterpart and mysterious counterpart, is her own unique, magnetic force – both for Parker and his reader. The two together are an exquisite dichotomy: she who has, allegedly, lived too much and he who refuses to live much at all.
Thanks for the Trouble falls into a very special collection of books for me. First, it is a true journey. Second, it reminds me exactly why I find fiction so captivating. It can be argued that, in fiction, the author is teaching you a lesson intentionally. Indeed, perhaps, some writers are (though why this alone would be enough to falsify the lesson, I will never know). However, in this particular type of story, I am reminded that, even if the author is teaching their audience on purpose, the characters are not. They are teaching you by accident. To me, to any reader or writer, such an accident is beautiful.