Why read “Someday this pain will be useful to you” (the new “rediscovery” of TikTok)

Back in the limelight thanks to the word of mouth of bookmaker and to the social reviews that don’t fail to include it among “the best reading recommendations of 2022”, more than ten years after its first publication (2007) One day this pain will come in handy for you Of Peter Cameron (Adelphi, translated by Giuseppina Oneto) is confirmed in the sales charts as one of the coming-of-age novels most appreciated by generation Zconsolidating that success of popularity which, already in the past, had made it a phenomenon of custom among fans of initiation stories and literature young adult.

One more reason to rediscover it? We suggest at least eightfrom the true meaning of the title to the plot on theadolescencefrom the parody on American bourgeoisie to grandmother’s nonconformity Nanette.

  • A title that is all a quote

Contrary to what it might seem at first glance, One day this pain will come in handy for you it is not a dramatic novel, nor heavy. Indeed, in the lyricism of the title – which is none other than the quotation of the famous Ovidian motto “Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim” – there is that wish for success that should well support every experience, and in particular those that help to grow.

  • A plot about adolescence

Suffice it to say that the young protagonist (according to many a modern Holden Caulfiled) is precisely in that phase of life – adolescence – in which everything seems to fall out of place: having just finished school, in a New York deserted at vacation time, the antisocial James Sveck inquires about what it means to grow up in a world of adults that has largely disappointed him. “I had always been eager to become an adult, because I believed that the world of adults was … well … adult (…) but now I began to understand that the world was as stupidly brutal and dangerous as the realm of childhood.”

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  • The parody of the American bourgeoisie

And how to blame him: without even a friend to rely on, a difficult character that has earned him the nickname of “misfit”, James grew up in a family context that does not seem to reflect him at all, even more so when he offers him models of maturity which the boy would never, ever choose to adhere to (his parents would like him to be enrolled at Brown University, while James dreams of buying a house in the Midwestwhere to live in complete loneliness). This is how the author presents us with the Sveck familya nucleus of individuals wacky unable to relate to each other as well as to fulfill themselves in life: Marjoriethe mother, is a “junk” art gallery owner now grappling with yet another divorce; Paulthe father, a screaming lawyer with a fixation for cosmetic surgery; Gillianthe sister, a pretentious student in love with her language theory professor, Rainer Maria Schultz. The perfect parody of the American bourgeoisie, in short; a narrative cross-section in which each character is so focused on himself that he completely loses sight of what James hides in his heart. With one exception…

  • Grandma Nanette’s nonconformism

And she “the person he likes the most”: even when the mother entrusts the boy to the supervision of Dr. Rowena Adler (an old-fashioned psychiatrist, who is supposed to solve James’ alleged problems), it is Nonna Nanette the only character to intercept the trust of his nephew, knowing how to listen to him with all the presence that only true affection can give. “You know what,” his grandmother tells him after James confided in him that he had created a fake online profile for the sole purpose of “playing a joke” on John, his work colleague, “after all, what you told me seems encouraging (…) Because you wanted something and you tried to get it (…) And often people act stupid when it comes to love”.

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  • No need for labels

And who knows, maybe this is exactly what James expects from the complicated world of adults: to be recognized for who he simply is, without the need for labels or premature confessions. The author, who delicately addresses the issue of sexual orientation of James without ever centralizing it in the plot, it really reminds us how much the identity of an individual can be told through its contour nuances, leaving the possibility of hyper-read it beyond the textual data.

  • An ending full of emotions

Liberating and poignantthe novel closes in the perfect linearity of the development: James, who over the course of a summer has learned to treasure his own experiences (even the most painful ones) confirms that becoming an adult does not mean “knowing what to do when we grow up”, but rather live in self-awareness making the most of everything life offers us.

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  • Peter Cameron’s writing

Author of the recent Things that happen at nighta refined masterpiece of noir language with a pinch of thrill (but also of Andorra, Leap yearas well as the very famous That golden evening), with One day this pain will come in handy for you Peter Cameron opens to a fresh and modern readingsuitable for a young audience but also full of intellectual references – James is what we would call a strong readeras well as a fan of museums and of artwork – which contribute to embellish the work of cultured and truly elegant parentheses.

To conclude – but we advise you, if you haven’t already done so, to (re)read the book first – we recall the 2012 film directed by the Italian director Robert Faenzawith Tony Regbo to play James Sveck ed Ellen Burstyn in the role of the sweetest Nanette.

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Why read “Someday this pain will be useful to you” (the new “rediscovery” of TikTok)