The Haters: A Jazzy Analysis

The Haters by Jesse Andrews is a book about three musicians, who meet each other at a jazz camp and later on form a band and go on a tour. Jesse Andrews is the author who wrote the book Me, Earl, and The Dying Girl, one of my all time favorite books.

The Haters has a pretty... strange plot. A lot of strange things happen to the main characters, Wes, Corey, and Ash, but we'll get into that later. Wes and Corey have been friends for ages, and they bond over music. Specifically, the band Kool and the Gang, which Wes enjoys quite a bit. They begin to point out every flaw in every one of their favorite artists, and they bond even more. They both join their school's jazz band; Corey plays drums and Wes plays the bass guitar (funny story: Wes began playing bass because a girl he liked at the time liked the song Super Bass by Nicki Minaj). Both of them get sent to a jazz camp, where they meet a girl named Ash. Ash plays electric guitar and... well... she has an interesting way of playing. It's clear that she doesn't really like playing jazz music and prefers to do her own thing. After an argument with one of the counselors at the band camp, Ash decides to leave and Wes and Corey join her, without really knowing who she is. They bond over the fact that jazz camp kinda sucks (their words, not mine), and form a band. Ash immediately plans a whole "tour" for the band, and they play a series of "gigs" (not really, since they play at the weirdest of places and to really small crowds that don't pay them much attention). Ash pays for the whole tour using her dad's credit card, and they travel from state to state, searching for a gig that doesn't suck. On the way, they encounter a few challenges, such as finding a decent name (one that doesn't suck) for their band, getting chased by the cops and some strange guys on the highway, and dealing with issues within the band. Regardless of these problems, Wes, Corey, and Ash have an awesome summer and return home at the end of their "tour".

There are a few major themes in this book, but one of the main ones is learning to deal with unexpected problems. One thing I noticed about the chapter titles (not just in this book, but also in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl) is that the chapter titles summarize the whole chapter. I don't know if this is common in books, but this is the first time I've noticed it; the chapter titles are literally complete sentences. These chapter titles describe the challenges the characters will have to face in the chapter, and in the chapter, you see how the characters adapt to the changes and challenges they face. For example, chapter fifteen's title, "How To Trade Your Really Nice But Police-Suspicion-Arousing Car For An Infinitely Less Nice And Come To Think Of It Probably Also Police-Suspicion-Arousing Car In Three Easy Steps" basically summarizes the whole chapter; getting rid of their current car and finding another one. Now, if that's not a challenge, then I don't know what is; the characters deal with the problem... pretty well. I mean, they get rid of their police-suspicion-arousing car, which is a good thing. Another chapter that shows the theme of the book is chapter sixteen, "We Drive Into Alabama And Almost Get Murdered Immediately". Just let that chapter title sink in... The characters deal with this issue the way most teenagers probably would; Wes, Corey, and Ash basically outrun the car chasing them and the people trying to "murder" them. Though most adults would probably read this chapter and wonder what's wrong with our generation, but in their defense, they DID solve that problem; they made it out alive! There are definitely more chapters and parts of the book that show the theme of learning to deal with unexpected problems, but those were just a couple of the most memorable ones for me.

Based on the his tone, I feel like the author is probably a super cool dude. Jesse Andrews probably wakes up at noon and listens to a variety of artists while he groggily stumbles around the house. Particularly, I think he listens to The Beatles, James Brown, Kanye West, Kool and the Gang, and Mariah Carey. He took a stab at The Beatles, James Brown, and Kanye in the third chapter of the book, and Kool and the Gang and Mimi were a big deal in the book; Wes was a big Kool and the Gang fan and Ash was low key a Mariah Carey fan. Jesse Andrews also probably drinks a liter of Coke and eats a bag of Airheads every morning because LET ME TELL YOU; there's no way he would've been able to write such an awesome and funny book if he wasn't "temporarily psychotic", a term he uses to describe the characters after drinking Coke and eating Airheads. I also feel like he either listens to jazz music or plays jazz music on an instrument because he seems to know quite a bit of jazz and music in general. He mentions a lot of jazz terms and songs at the beginning of the book and he even mentions a few popular jazz songs and jazz musicians throughout the book. Waking up, drinking soda and eating candy, and playing jazz music? Sounds like my kind of morning.

The biggest literary device in this book without a doubt is the use of foreshadowing. Like I explained earlier, Jesse Andrews tends to make his chapter titles complete sentences that tell the reader roughly what'll go on in the chapter. An example of this is the chapter title for chapter 23, "Corey Elevates His Being-An-Unstable-Mess Game To A Whole Other Level"; when reading this title, one can assume that something REALLY messed up will happen to Corey and/or the band. This helps the reader understand the theme of the book a little more because the reader has something to look forward to in the chapter, and he/she will already have a taste of what's coming. Another literary device we see in this book that helps in understanding the theme is characterization. By describing the characters and giving us a little background information on each of the characters, the readers begin to wonder how they'll solve their problems as the book progresses. Wes seems to worry a lot, Corey seems super chill, and Ash seems to enjoy taking risks; by knowing this information, it makes it easier for the reader to understand why the characters act the way they do in certain situations. The author also uses anecdotes to reveal a little bit more about each of the characters; he talks about why Wes decided to play bass guitar, for example. The anecdotes in this story are quite funny, and they definitely help in understanding the author's tone. Hyperboles are very common throughout the book, especially in the chapter titles. You may wonder why I keep bringing the chapter titles up, and that is simply because they really do help the reader understand what is going on; I like to think that the book is just a compilation of little stories and events that happen to Wes, Corey, and Ash while they're touring, since there is really no true plot. Anyway, the use of hyperboles help the reader understand the author's tone; an example would be the title of chapter sixteen, which I am too lazy to write out (scroll up to find it). Were the kids REALLY going to get murdered? No, of course not. The hyperbole here makes the reader think, "WTF is going to happen now?!", but the title still remains funny. A final literary device in this book is the use of onomatopoeias. This is EXTREMELY common in almost all the chapters. Here are a few examples: (1) "heeeeerrrrrrrRRRRNNNNNNNNN", (2) "hmm", and (3) "oof". Jesse Andrews uses a plethora of these throughout the book, and I think this adds to the overall tone.

I spent a long couple of hours writing this. I need coffee.

Sooooonnnnnggggg: It Don't Mean A Thing by Duke Ellington (this is one of the songs mentioned in the book and it's one that our school's jazz band can play)


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