When Obnoxious Characters Happen to Good Books: Jess, Chunk and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

The last time Jess saw her father, she was a boy named Jeremy. Now she’s a high school graduate, soon to be on her way to art school. But first, Jess has some unfinished business with her dad. So she’s driving halfway across the country to his wedding. He happens to be marrying her mom’s ex-best friend. It’s not like Jess wasn’t invited; she was. She just told them she wasn’t coming. Surprise!

Luckily, Jess isn’t making this trip alone. Her best friend, Christophe—nicknamed Chunk—is joining her. Chunk has always been there for Jess, and he’s been especially supportive of her transition, which has recently been jump-started with hormone therapy.

Along the way from California to Chicago, Jess and Chunk will visit roadside attractions, make a new friend or two, and learn a few things about themselves—and each other—that call their true feelings about their relationship into question.

Source: GoodReads

The main character ruined the book.

Just saying.

I think one of the hardest things to get right as an author is to write an unlikable character.  If done right, it can really make a book.  Let’s face it unlikable characters are pretty realistic.  I can’t stand most people in real life, so it makes sense that there are going to be unlikable characters.  But the thing is if there’s nothing that you can identify with that person, then the book is going to be a disaster.

Such as in the case of Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity.  To be fair, I did think portraying Jess the way she was, was realistic-but it didn’t keep me from hating her guts.

God knows, I didn’t want to hate her guts. Girl had been going through a lot.  I wanted to like her, I wanted to feel her.  But she ended up being one of the most self absorbed protagonists I’ve read in awhile.  And again, that was probably realistic BUT

It didn’t make her that likable especially with all the fat shaming she did.

Which was a lot and bring me to the crux of my problem with the story Jess and Chunk’s Chuck’s relationship.  Note, for the duration of this review I will be calling Chuck, Chuck since the name that Jess calls him for 90% of the novel is hateful and derogatory and she never once fucking thinks it hurts his feelings.

And he’s not the only character who she fat shames there’s like two other characters she shames.  And yeah, there’s an epiphany at the end-sort of-but it’s almost too little too late.  Honestly, the ending that Jess got to me seemed rushed and unrealistic.  I wanted Chuck to cut ties to this bitch and never look back.

Yes, I called our MC a bitch because she is.

On the bright side, having such negative feelings for Jess means that the book did leave an impression on me.  It’s just not the right impression.

Besides from having a very judgmental transgender main character, the book is your fairly typical road trip story with blatant generalizations made about Middle America that I could care less about.  There are random characters that make appearances and disappear into the story and serve no purpose.  Even the only obstacle-besides Jess’s foulness- to Jess getting together with Chuck is gone within a few pages.

Le sigh.

I just don’t know.  This book really didn’t work for me, and while I appreciate what it was trying to do it just didn’t do it.   I don’t feel like completely failing it though because it wasn’t exactly terrible.

Overall Rating: A C-.  A part of me wants to give it a higher rating, but I hate Jess and it ruined any sort of relationship she and Chuck could’ve had and made me ship him with the Lizard.


2 thoughts on “When Obnoxious Characters Happen to Good Books: Jess, Chunk and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

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