The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh opens with fourteen-year-old Chad on his way to get his father out of jail, in between sleepovers, computer games and wondering who he is. The adults in his life are asking the same question of themselves, with rather less success.
It’s 2002 and Chad’s parents are barely clinging to middle-class status in Palo Alto, as the winners of the first internet revolution push prices sky high, and the losers decline to quietly slip away.
The struggle to keep up is bearing down on his parents, while his aunt, juggling her academic career and motherhood, is run ragged by success.
The tragicomic bit players in this book are the failed dotcom millionaires. They are a constant reminder that your status is contingent, that the person you thought you were yesterday could be wiped out today, that you too could be doomed to spend your days sitting in a coffee shop with a laptop, shouting at anyone who will listen that you still matter.
I love the way the book is packed with humour and warmth while not shying away from some pretty dark life lessons. Chad is smart, funny and open to experience – and experience keeps coming at him.
I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher via TNBBC Publicity.
View The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh on Goodreads
Enjoyed this? You might also like Inside the Bone Box by Anthony Ferner