“Down and Across” tells the story of a young man named Scott Ferdowsi. Scott is a reoccurring quitter. When compared to his best friends, who have it all planned out, he begins to freak out. With the pressures from his parents, college applications, and his future, he runs off to Washington D.C. in search of help from a professor who specializes in grit and the psychology of success. On his way he meets Fiora Buchanan, an impulsive college student with an affinity for crossword puzzles. With her help, Scott gets more than he bargained for and has a wild summer he was not expecting.
Originally, I gave this book a rating of 2 out of 5 stars immediately after reading it. That may have been premature. I started this book in late April… I forget the day. I picked it up and read about 30 pages and didn’t pick it up again until the beginning of June. There was something about the main character, Scott, which I didn’t like. I could not put my finger on it, so I closed the book. It put me in a rut. I did not pick up the book, or any book for that matter, for more than a month. When I finally did pick it up again I flew right through it.
The characters in this book are frustrating to say the least. Scott came off as whiny and completely unaware of the world around him. Fiora was adrift throughout most of the story. The secondary characters in the story didn’t offer much to the story other than being there for the sake of setting up the second half of the story.
The plot of this book was even more frustrating for the characters. I think it was one of the biggest reasons why it took me so long to read this book. This feels like a long drawn out part of a bigger story. The story takes place within a little bit more than a month, but because of its structure it feels like a few days. It reads very fast, but with everything that happens, it feels very slow.
This book left much to be desired by the end of it. This is a book about self-discovery and learning to power through the hard times. I said before I gave the 2 stars after reading. I gave it that without much thought. It was where I was originally with my feelings toward this book. I thought long and hard about if it deserved a higher rating or was I just saying that because Ahmadi is good looking.
It wasn’t until I was putting this book back on my shelf that realized why this book was so polarizing for me. I mean I did not hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. I realized I am Scott. I mean to say I am in the same headspace as he was at the beginning of the book. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was. A life-changing decision, two huge moves, three years out of college, four different jobs and I don’t know what I am doing with my life. I had a distaste for Scott because he was mirroring me.
I think that this story, with all its flaws, has something interesting to offer the reader. I think that most people have this experience, at least once in their lives, the experience of not knowing where they are going or where they should go. After sitting on this book for a while I found a deeper meaning for myself and for the book. I am glad I read it, even if at first I didn’t enjoy it. Haha.