• Picador
Reading Group Gold
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You - Peter CameronSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image


email/print EmailPrint

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You



Awards: ALA Rainbow Project Book List; American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults; Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year; Amazon.com Top 10 Editor's Picks: Teens; CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI); Ferro-Grumley Award; Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List; Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice; Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year; Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens; Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award Master List; NYPL Books for the Teen Age

Recommendations: Booklist, Starred; Bulletin-Center Child Books; Horn Book, Starred Review; Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review; New York Times Book Review; Publishers Weekly, Starred; VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Listen: Audio Excerpt
Loading the player ...
Book Buy
Book Hardcover
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Peter CameronPeter Cameron

PETER CAMERON is the author of several novels, including Andorra and The Weekend. He lives in New York City.

photo: Copyright Nina Subin

Awards

ALA Rainbow Project Book List
American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults
Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
Amazon.com Top 10 Editor's Picks: Teens
CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI)
Ferro-Grumley Award
Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List
Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice
Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award Master List
NYPL Books for the Teen Age

Recommendations

Booklist, Starred
Bulletin-Center Child Books
Horn Book, Starred Review
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly, Starred
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Moon by Night

Square Fish
As if simply being fourteen-years-old weren’t bad enough—what with the usual teenage angst and uncertainty, Vicky Austin’s always comforting and reliable home...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
A House Like a Lotus

Square Fish
The conclusion to the Polly O’Keefe stories that began with The Arm of the Starfish and Dragons in the Waters finds Polly taking an unforgettable trip to...
  
cover Buy
The Mozart Season

Square Fish
“Remember, what’s down inside you, all covered up—the things of your soul. The important, secret things . . . The story of you, all buried, let the music...
cover Buy
You're the Best!

Kingfisher
The fourteen original stories in this collection capture the essence of friendship in all of its complexity. From true best friends to rivals, from a shoulder...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Once

Square Fish
A Jewish boy name Felix looks for his parents in Poland during WWII.
cover Buy
Guitar Highway Rose

St. Martin's Griffin
My name is Rosie Moon. I am nearly sixteen. I’m hungry for a juicy life. I lean out the window at night and I can taste it out there, waiting for...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Long Live the Queen

Feiwel & Friends
Being the President’s daughter isn’t easy, but Meg’s getting used to it. She’s even starting to have a life again—okay, not a normal life, but things are...
  
cover Buy
Pedro and Me
Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned

Square Fish
Pedro Zamora changed lives.When the HIV-positive AIDS educator appeared on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco, he taught millions of viewers about being gay...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
One Second After

Tor Books
New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real...a story in which one man struggles to...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The SeaQuel

Feiwel & Friends
After Tom rescued Frankie the goldfish from his big brother Mark's toxic science experiment by zapping him back to life with a battery, Frankie somehow became...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Don't Go

St. Martin's Griffin
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and...
  

Reading Group Gold

About this Guide
The following author biography and list of questions about Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.

About the Book
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the story of James Sveck, a sophisticated, vulnerable young man with a deep appreciation for the world and no idea how to live in it. James is eighteen, the child of divorced parents living in Manhattan. Articulate, sensitive, and cynical, he rejects all of the assumptions that govern the adult world around him--including the expectation that he will go to college in the fall. He would prefer to move to an old house in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You takes place over a few broiling days in the summer of 2003 as James confides in his sympathetic grandmother, stymies his canny therapist, deplores his pretentious sister, and devises a fake online identity in order to pursue his crush on a much older coworker. Nothing turns out how he'd expected.

In the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Booklist has hailed Cameron as “one of the best writers about middle-class youth since Salinger”), Peter Cameron paints an indelible portrait of a teenage hero holding out for a better grownup world.

About the Author
Peter Cameron’s fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Grand Street. He is the author of the adult novels The City of Your Final Destination, Andorra, and The Weekend. Cameron has also taught courses at Columbia University, Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oberlin College. He lives in New York City.

1. Reflect on the opening quotations. Do they set a tone for the book? How does the Denton Welch quotation expand upon the one from Ovid?

2. James believes adults have the ability to deceive themselves (p. 4). Does James include himself among adults? Why or why not? Does he deceive himself? Is James a reliable narrator?

3. When James is relating emotionally charged scenes, he often digresses or makes observations that seem to be only loosely connected to the subject at hand. What purpose do these digressions/observations serve? What do they reveal about James? What pathos to they add to the scenes? Consider the scene on page 7: James’s mother has come home from her honeymoon early and alone, demanding a glass of water. As James watches her drink, he’s reminded that birds with their heads tilted back, beaks open, will drown in a rainstorm. Find and discuss other examples.

4. James is always looking at houses on-line. What do you think he is seeking?

5. Why doesn’t James want to go to college? How does the “horrible experience” (p. 39) in Washington, D.C. affect his decision? Why does it take so long for James to describe this experience? What is it about Nareem’s invitation that propels him to run (pp. 116–117)?

6. Search online for images of the Thomas Cole paintings described on pages 129–131. Discuss James’s reaction to them.

7. James likes his coworker, John Webster, very much. Why, then, does James post a false profile on Gent4Gent to entice John? John is hurt and angry and confronts James. How does this episode help James define the man he wants to become?

8. James indicates that one of his favorite people is his grandmother Nanette. Why? Examine his description of her and her house. Is his perception of Nanette influencing his dream of a home in Kansas? What realization about college does James have while sitting in her kitchen?

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Germania
In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History

Picador
Germania is propelled by a wish to reclaim the brilliant, chaotic, endlessly varied German civilization that the Nazis buried and ruined, and that, since 1945,...
  Bonus
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Hours
A Novel

Picador
A daring, deeply affecting third novel by the author of A Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood. In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely...
  Bonus
cover Buy

More formats
Audio
The World Is Flat 3.0
A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Picador
A New Edition of the Phenomenal #1 Bestseller "One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly...