Cameron, Peter. “Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You”, Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2007.
Coming-of-age is never easy but it is very hard in cynical tines. James Sveck is a cynic growing up surrounded by cynics in Peter Cameron’s new novel, “Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You”. Here is a novel written beautifully and crafted with great skill that not only is endearing but humorous as well. It is a novel about today and Cameron manages to capture the cynicism and with sarcastic irony the period in which we live today. James, our hero, observes all that is happening around him as he leaves high school and prepares for college at Brown University.
The sarcastic title of the book sets the tone for the novel and as we meet our socially antagonistic hero we learn that he is emotionally distant, obsessed with himself and that his parents are upper class and have divorced. It is his summer befre college and he really doesn’t want to go because he knows that he will have to interact with others. He spends that summer working at his mother’s art gallery or going off to visit his grandmother or going to a therapist which his parents felt was a good idea after he supposedly had a nervous breakdown the year before while on a school trip.
James’s fears, dreams ans compulsions and passions are handled with lyrical writing by Cameron. It is never really clear if is gay but he does show the desire to be loved by the gay manager of his mother’s gallery.