Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Published July 3rd 2013 by Ecco
Rating: 3/5


Summary: Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

Review: How does one describe their emotions after reading this book? I finished this book about a week ago and I’m still struggling to understand how I felt about this book. I went into this book thinking it would be a crime novel but boy was I mistaken.

Tampa started off brilliantly and captured my attention immediately. Over the next few pages filled with brazen and vulgar thoughts, I was quickly invested in her life. I don’t know what drew me in: was it the icky thoughts about young boys or was it Celeste’s hunt to find the right boy? My initial thoughts were simple: this is very fifty shades. Except with better writing, no S&M and more… horrific because of the 14 year old victim.

I don’t know if this book left a great, or rather, correct impact on me. While I did feel mortified (which I’m assuming is what the author intended) enough to never become a sexual predator, I’m not sure it truly left a huge impact on me. Rather, Tampa left me in a hit-and-run situation. I read it, but I will never go back to it. I want to forget about it, immediately.

Tampa was intense, but it is a good book to read and discuss. This, ideally is one of the books that touches on a topic that we should be discussing and worry about. Student-teacher relationships are very real and this book, although troubling, can be a starting point for discussion. If you’re looking for a book that will horrify you, then Tampa is the book for you.


3 thoughts on “Tampa by Alissa Nutting

  1. Great review! Nutting crafted her character well–I hated Celeste Price! In writing my own review, I had to acknowledge that I didn’t like the book, but I admire the writing, and I am glad for the material; it’s good to trash the societal hoax of women’s passivity any time, any place.

    • Thank you! Yeah, now that I think about it again I did lean against the ‘didn’t like’ spectrum of things. I think personally having a 10 year old brother with a lot of female teachers kind of scared me a little bit 😦 I am glad for this book’s existence. It’s a conversation starter, though I’m slightly disappointed at the ending because I don’t think Celeste really learnt anything from all of this.

  2. Pingback: This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas | pretty bookmarks

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