Nineteen: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Model presents Daryl, a determined young man whose appearance lends to modeling jobs that take him away from a brutal childhood in a small Midwestern town to the glamour of New York City.
Daryl’s trials in life aren’t over, even though he’s successfully left his past behind: indeed, they’re just beginning, since he has no support systems, money, or contacts which could make the difference between success or failure in both the modeling world and in life.
Sometimes a fierce determination to rise above it all isn’t enough. Sometimes the elements that contribute to success in life remain ever-elusive. And often the savviest of young men remain frustrated as they reach for a carrot of success that never quite seems to land squarely in their hands.
Such is Daryl: and as readers follow his successes and failures, so they come to admire and understand the foundations of his beliefs as he begins to acknowledge that he is “…the one person who brings me all the pain: myself.”
Revelations such as these charge an emotional story of determination even when odds are firmly stacked against the protagonist. It’s the processes of Daryl’s coming of age in the world which makes his story so involving a read (“Whatever I loved in my family would be taken away from me, teaching me that to love anything or anyone would result in loss. I changed myself from an overly emotional and caring child into a careful and distant adult.”). And, ultimately, it’s the nature and circumstances of Daryl’s life and choices that keeps readers immersed to an end which offers no pat answers or simple solutions.
Nineteen is a coming-of-age story on the level of Catcher in the Rye and other classic writings, and is highly recommended for advanced and mature teens into new adult and adult audiences; especially those interested in pursuing novels about the nature of transformative processes.