Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting #Tampa #BookReview #Fiction #Psychological


By Alissa Nutting


Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

My thoughts:

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade teacher in Florida, who’s married to a police officer. Everyone thinks she’s extremely attractive and a wonderful teacher. She’s even been asked to mentor another less than mediocre teacher in her school. In truth, she’s a dangerous sexual predator who’s obsessed with 14-year-old boys. Everything she does revolves around her next encounter, and she daydreams—completely fixated on everything relating to sex with young boys.

I’m going to leave an informal review on this book and just say that it was one of the craziest books I’ve ever read. From the very first pages, the content is extremely disturbing. What’s even more bizarre is that I was compelled to finish this book and couldn’t put it down. The author takes you into the mind of this woman, and it’s deeply disturbing, twisted, perplexing, perverse, and just downright sick.

I’ve seen others state that this book was loosely based on a true story, but I’ve not been able to confirm it. To me this story is totally believable, but there were a few parts that seemed pretty contrived and convenient. What I wanted was good closure in the end with justice getting served, but what I got was a huge helping of injustice. The reader is left to wonder: will it ever end?

If I were to rate this book on the writing alone I’d easily give it five stars because it’s impeccable, but instead I’ll go with four because this was a story I didn’t necessarily enjoy. I’ll definitely read more from this author in the future.


Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Publisher : Ecco; First Edition (July 2, 2013)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780062280541
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062280541

Thanks for reading my review! Have you read this book or any other psychological fiction recently? Feel free to leave your comments below.


14 thoughts on “Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting #Tampa #BookReview #Fiction #Psychological

  1. David R. Dowdy

    The book cover told me instantly something prurient was going on inside. I would have to put it in the category of a story that wants to be read, yet begs the reader just a little too hard. Still, the author gets credit for writing an apparently plausible story given your review. You can imagine she stopped a number of times and asked herself, “Now, how in the world will I show/tell this part?”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. David, the author did such an excellent job on this. I read a few reviews from friends who mentioned that this was loosely based on a true story of a teacher in Florida, but I can’t say for sure how accurate that is because I didn’t see any reference in the book to it. The content was so difficult, but the way she writes—describing every detail—really gets into the mind of Celeste, and that’s why I couldn’t put it down. It’s so insane, you just have to find out how things will pan out in the end. It’s surely not for everyone. This is an adult book and I wouldn’t rate it poorly because of the content, but I did take a star off because parts were so disturbing and totally unenjoyable. The writing to me deserves five stars though. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one! Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. David R. Dowdy

        Just finished reading Tampa and I too give Alissa Nutting credit for writing a superb and jarring portrait of a pathetic, reviling pervert pedophile. I imagine some of the more salacious parts were difficult to share with agents, editors, and the public. Some (most? all?) must have found it difficult to separate her from the story. Yet as an author that would be unfair. She only gets credit for writing a plausible story. Hopefully, it will open our eyes to the often shameless world we have entered.


        1. Wow! I’m really glad this turned out to be a five-star read for you, David, especially with the disturbing content. Thanks for linking up your review! 🙂


  2. I’ve not heard of this book and now I’ve gotta have it! Excellent review, Mischenko💜

    FYI, here’s what I found as background on Wikipedia:

    “Nutting was inspired by Debra Lafave, a Tampa teacher charged with having sex with her middle school students in 2013. Nutting went to high school with LeFave; seeing someone she knew on the news raised her awareness of the issue of female predators and changed her mind about the reality of underage male rape.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. starjustin

    I find myself wondering how this type of subject can actually sell books. Maybe I’m just on the prudish side, lol. After all, this is ‘just’ a book. 📖

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This book sounds just so insane and disturbing, yet… I actually liked stories that go into villains’ mind such as YOU by Caroline Kepnes. I smell the same from this book; your review had me intrigued!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am with your mom on this one, Jen. If it was written as non-fiction and a cautionary tale, I might pick it up, but not in this format. I guess being a retired teacher and principal, it turns my stomach somewhat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was in high school we had a male health teacher who (everyone knew) had sexual relations with students. It’s was like everyone just turned a blind eye and never spoke up about it. It’s messed up. In this story’s case, there’s so much more of a psychological component, and that’s what held me on. One of the craziest books I’ve ever read. Thanks, Carla.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Saturdays at the Café – Blue Mood Café

  7. Pingback: Late March/April Wrap-Up #Books #BookReviews #Music #ReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s