Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius - Stacey Matson
Lights. Camera. Action! Arthur Bean’s life has taken a turn for the adventurous — two girlfriends to deal with, and a blockbuster film to co-write, produce and direct. How crazy can one school year get?
Arthur and Robbie have called a truce now that the writing contest and school play are over…but plans go astray when Arthur’s new girlfriend Anila gets jealous of his friendship with Kennedy. And then there’s that little problem of the movie camera Arthur and Robbie borrowed to film their upcoming blockbuster movie.
As Arthur’s life goes off the rails all over again, laughs for the reader are right on track. Emails, doodles, texts, newspaper articles, AV Club rules (which Arthur and Robbie usually break) give the story the same engaging look as A Year in the Life of a (Total and Complete) Genius.
This is the sequel to Stacey Matson's first novel, A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius (you can read my review of it here). Arthur continues to be self-absorbed, and still fails to realize the fullness of his potential if he would just, as one of Matson's readers so eloquently told her, "get his head out of his butt." Though much of the charm of Matson's work holds fast, the fact that Arthur is now getting older suggests there is a need for greater emotional development and maturation. There are shadows of this transformation, but he still feels to be developing at much slower pace that I would have thought.
As with the first novel, the humour mostly comes from Arthur's interactions with his teachers and with his inability to fully realize what is expected of him. Ms. Whitehead continues to be the most understanding, while Mr. Everett and Mrs. Ireland also endeavour to help Arthur understand his full potential. Robbie, Kennedy, and Anila are fabulous counterpoints to Arthur, and really help the story come together, though part of me felt that they had developed more in this instalment than Arthur.
All in all, though it is perhaps not quite as strong as the first in the trilogy, Matson's second book is funny, engaging, silly, and heartfelt. There is much to love and fans of the first book will enjoy the continuing story of Arthur Bean and his reading journal.