In real life Haley Joel Osment is a failed child-actor. In real life Dakota Fanning is a successful and not-yet-failed child-actress. Real-life Haley Joel Osment should offer tips to real-life Dakota Fanning so as to help her not become washed-up. Real-life Dakota Fanning should be wary of advice from a washed up mega-child.
In Tao Lin’s novel Richard Yates, Haley Joel Osment (22) wants his girlfriend Dakota Fanning (16) to be a part of the authentic reality he lives in. Haley Joel Osment wants Dakota Fanning to bypass the bullshit of the teenage years. The book is about honesty in action.
Tao Lin is interesting. I like how Tao Lin represents independent literary culture.
I enjoyed his new novel and felt that is was his most “emotive”. I read Richard Yates during Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The book made me feel good about being thin. The book was more coherent than Eeeee Eee Eeee. The book was much more serious than Shoplifting From American Apparel and Eeeee Eee Eee. I kept thinking “Did Tao do this in real life?” while I read the book. I would read a book by the character Dakota Fanning is based on. I think I want to hear her side of the story, if the story exists independent of the fiction.
Between readings I kept going to the computer and googling interviews with Tao Lin. I wanted to find out if Tao Lin was a statutory rapist.
Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning have a quirky relationship in the beginning of the novel that exemplifies young, long-distance online relationships. They are cute with one another. They say moderately abstract things based upon their mutual disconnections. This is a book about the ethics of disconnection.
Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning converse back and forth electronically and in person during every chapter. The book is relationship-centric. The dialogue between Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning on Gchat is an example of the subtle possibilities of instant, non-verbal communication. The feeling of missing an email, the nuances of SMS, the politics of responding to a text message are expressed.
Haley Joel Osment doesn’t know much about developmental psychology. As the novel progresses he “breaks” Dakota Fanning’s personality by having her fall in love with him and achieving “hand” in the relationship and in turn using that “hand” to control her every action. He thinks he is helping. However, Dakota Fanning remains a 16 year old and struggles against her own impulses and her body/mind end up betraying her as she struggles to keep Haley Joel Osment happy. She cares so much about his happiness but constantly fights pacifistic urges in order to please Haley Joel Osment. Haley Joel Osment’s intentions are pure and he wants Dakota Fanning to bloom in to an authentic, unique and honest human being. Haley Joel Osment does not give up on Dakota Fanning.