Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer (2012)
**This post has a lot of spoilers**
Chris Colfer is an actor on the TV show Glee. You might have heard of him. He is also a talented author with a bestselling middle grade series to his name as well as credits for this novel and the screenplay by the same name.
I like Chris Colfer. I do. I will never, ever question his talents.
But I still have so many questions about this book.
The initial story was interesting. Carson is driven and motivated and talented. He’s also a little neurotic and a lot callous to his other classmates (as evidenced by, you know, blackmailing everyone to submit to the magazine). Fine. Everyone gets to be self-centered and obnoxious now and then.
Then things get weird.
In one of the most contrived plot points I’ve recently read, Carson is poised to get everything he wants. Only to be foiled by his mother throwing out his acceptance letter. This made no sense. There are emails and phones and a thousand ways to contact college admissions offices not to mention attempts to woo applicants. I call shenanigans on Carson not catching this until it’s too late.
But fine. I can let that slide too. Reality can be harsh and absurd. Fine. Not everyone gets into their first choice college. That’s reality. Carson has obviously grown as a result and is much more positive and hopeful and experienced now. This is a guy who is going to be okay.
Then, as the title might suggest, he gets struck by lightning and dies.
Obviously, given the title, I should have expected this. But at the same time I was so angry when I read final page. In fact, I was so angry I considered tearing the last page out and pretending it didn’t exist.
What is the point of reading about Carson’s growth as a character and following him for an entire year only to have him killed by a freak accident? One page managed to invalidate any positive feelings I had for the book. I’m sure there was a reason for the ending, but it just felt like a hopeless waste and utterly ridiculous.
The writing was fine and the characters are fine but that hardly matters when the ending was a slap in the face.