I struggled with this book for really longer than I should have, but I am so so glad I stuck with it. At about the halfway point it reveals itself to be a Russian nesting doll of ideas and I don’t want to talk too much about it and give too much away, but yes, please, bear through the uncomfortableness of the first half to experience to awe of the second that lets you see the genius of the whole.
Trust Exercise puts theater kids front and center, along with their passionate heartbroken sex lives, so yes, this is a very awkward and insufferable. I wasn’t a theater kid, I was a theater tech so I’ve always harbored a special kind of hatred for theater kids (standing around the stereo singing Wicked because they were above helping us clean up, yes, this is why I hate Wicked too). As I’ve documented time and time again, I am a very prudish reader so the sex stuff squicked me out but Choi writes it with seemingly that express purpose. There is also a lot that, reading from an adult’s perspective, is clearly abuse but it’s written through the eyes of a teenager who doesn’t understand that’s what’s happening and it’s heartbreaking.
So clearly, not an easy read. It’s a tough one to recommend but I do recommend it. It’s the kind of book that reminds you why you don’t actually ever want to be a teenager again but also that the experiences you had as a teenager are still very much a part of your life.