Book Review: The Tribulations of August Baron

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 8.49.35 PM“Love is the most important part of life, and loving family is a God-given gift never to be underappreciated.” -Auntie Tunes

It is the last Wednesday of February and you know what that means… It’s Indie Author Wednesday! Today I’ll be reviewing the self-published title, The Tribulations of August Baron. It is a novella, the first in a YA series, and gives us a snapshot look into August’s (Augie) first semester of college. He’s an awkward kid, loves Star Wars and just wants the same thing the chisel-faced jocks around him want: a girl to love. When he meets a girl who shares his love of Star Wars, it’s a perfect match. Or is it?

stormtrooper-1343877_1920I thought the story itself was cute. I wouldn’t say it was deep or said anything entirely profound or made me want to reevaluate anything in my own life, but it was a cute read, and I think readers 14-18 would enjoy it. Fair warning, there is a sex scene involved, and that’s actually the first thing I wanted to talk about. I’ve been doing some extensive research on my own on writing sex scenes, and I’m currently writing an essay on it, which I may or may not publish. We’ll see. There is a line between writing pornography and writing a meaningful, purposeful sex scene. LeBlanc did a great job delivering a scene that had just enough raunch, but not too much that it would seem like porn. At one point (spoiler alert) the girl does start imitating things she might have seen in porn, and Augie senses this, which immediately turns him off since he is looking for meaningful sex. Even though it is his first time, he walks away from the bed disappointed and orgasm-less. Poor kid. What a way to lose your v-chip. Even though a portion of the scene might emulate a hint of pornography, it was written for a reason.  Simply put, if the sex scene you are writing isn’t important to character development or to the plot, then you are writing porn. LeBlanc did a great job balancing the scene. Bravo, eloquently done.

The one thing I had a problem with was that I wish this was a full-length novel, not a novella. I feel like this story could have been extended and tapped deeper into Augie’s anxiety problem. We know he can’t breathe, but does he have a nervous tick? (Think- Betty Cooper from Riverdale digging her nails into her hands until they bleed). I also would have developed Tunes’ character a little more especially because (another spoiler alert) she dies. When I read that Tunes died, I almost wished that it was Augie’s grandmother that had died instead because she was a more developed character and it would have moved me more. We don’t meet Tunes until three-quarters of the way through the novel, so when she died it was sort of like, meh, okay, well at least it wasn’t a main character. If the story had been a bit longer, maybe Tunes could have made a more lasting impact on the reader, especially if she was introduced, or even mentioned earlier in the novel. So for that, I give the novel a 4 out of 5 stars.

Even though it involves death and drug addicts, it’s a decent “feel good” story, kind of like a Lifetime movie or something you’d see on the Hallmark channel. (And let me tell you, I’m a total sucker for those movies.) I enjoyed it and I think you would too.

 

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