In some ways, Jimmy Hawthorn is a lot like many other high school kids. He’s quiet. Kinda shy around girls. Gets pretty good grades. Likes to play video games. For a while there he had to deal with a bit of bullying until he hit a growth spurt and started lifting weights. He’s never found himself in any real trouble to speak of. No run-ins with the law. Gets along well with his parents and his brother. Yeah, just an average young man from an average family living in an average American town. There is one thing, though, that might not be considered quite so average about Jimmy Hawthorn. And that would be his rather unhealthy obsession with a certain type of hardcore pornography. The kind that involves leather masks and ball gags, handcuffs and various other restraining devices.
That’s right, ladies and gents, what we have here is a teenage bondage fanatic.
Ever since Jimmy was a kid, imagery involving women in certain, shall we say, compromising positions has fascinated him. For about as long as he can remember, he’s felt his blood start to pump a little faster while watching a movie or TV show depicting scenes in which women are tied up. At some point he started videotaping these scenes until eventually finding much more graphic material online. As he grew older, Jimmy fantasized more and more about acting out these scenes in real life. But where would he ever find a girl willing to submit to the sorts of degradations he had in mind? And, really, wouldn’t it be so much better if the girl was forced to submit, wasn’t actually willing to do it at all?
One day after school, Jimmy’s presented with a golden opportunity to turn his fantasies into reality. He encounters a classmate named Samantha King along a lonely stretch of road out near the Hood place, a long abandoned home surrounded by deep grass and overgrown bushes. Turns out there’s also an underground fallout shelter on the property. Jimmy’s pretty sure he’s the only one in town aware of this last little detail, discovered during one of his solitary excursions to the place. After confronting Samantha with a knife, he forces her into the shelter where he uses a rope to hang her by her wrists from a metal pipe near the ceiling.
The days that follow should be some of the happiest of Jimmy’s young life, all things considered, now that he has his victim, now that he can force her to do all the things he’s thought about doing for so many years. And certain moments spent in the fallout shelter do make the risk he’s taken by abducting Samantha seem worthwhile. But things get complicated when he finds himself in a pretty serious relationship with another girl from school. Not to mention all the lying to his brother and his parents he has to do about where he’s spending so much of his time lately. There’s also the police investigation into Samantha’s disappearance. And let’s not forget about the jerk at school named Brett who seems obsessed with making Jimmy’s life a living hell . . .
Overall, William Malmborg’s Jimmy is a fast paced and entertaining read. The main character is believable enough as a high school student with a rather unique and unhealthy addiction. What makes Jimmy an interesting “villain,” for lack of a better word, is that he’s so ordinary. If it wasn’t for a certain little glitch in his personality he’d be just like so many other introverted young men out there. But sometimes a little glitch is all that separates the ordinary from the monstrous. I also like the fact that no attempt is made to give a reason for Jimmy’s behaviour, that the author feels no need to explain the why of it all. Jimmy is just a kid with abnormal and what prove to be uncontrollable urges. Period. And when he decides to act upon those urges people get hurt, including those who matter most to him and, ultimately, himself.