Monday, June 2, 2008

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine, by April Lurie

Everything seems to be happening to Dylan Fontaine. He ends up in jail for carrying two bags of underwear out of a store before paying in an effort to avoid a chance meeting with his mother. Dylan's home life is a disaster: Mom's left home, Dad's working 24-7 as usual, and Dylan's older brother Randy is smoking more and more pot. To make matters worse, the members of Randy's rock band have moved into the Fontaine home turning it into a smelly (and loud) pigsty.

Dylan grew up in his brother's shadow: Randy, Dylan thinks, is smarter and a better musician than he is. But now Dylan is watching Randy self-combust. Randy's band only plays covers, instead of Randy's original music. Someone in the band, Dylan thinks, is dealing drugs. Could it be Randy?

Dylan's a confused mess when his best friend Angie shows up in his life again. A student taking a NYU film course, she wants Dylan to help her with a film project. Before long the film is about Dylan and is titled "The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine." In the midst of all this chaos, it's time for Dylan to come into his own. Angie sees it. A girl in his art class, who critiques Dylan's drawing, saying "I think Dylan is at a point in his artistic career where he should...find his own style," sees it. Finally, Dylan sees it too.

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine is a quick read, but one with lasting impact. Dylan is a normal kid with interests in music, sports, and art--"an ordinary dude...taking a few chances, finding humor in the world, and discovering who he is."

Cross-posted at Big A little a.


Little Willow said...

As with any book that has film and/or art within the story, I wanted to see Dylan's drawings and the film!

Kelly said...

LW: This book would make an excellent movie. You could have the student film within the film, which could be really interesting.

slayground said...

I want to see the film in Notes from the Teenage Underground as well. Have you read the book Tru Confessions? It was made into a TV movie, and it was fantastic to see Tru's documentary come to life.

This has the potential to be a booklist: films within books. Ooh, what else, what else?