Have you ever read a book that you enjoy so much it takes you over?  You’re sad when you turn the last page.  So you pick up the next book on your list, or shelf or pile, and it should be excellent.  You’ve been looking forward to reading it.  But you’re sitting on the couch while your boyfriend plays Jelly Car on his XBox 360, reading An Abundance of Katherines and all you can think is “I should be reading Fat Kid Rules the World.”

Because I should.  Because I would have been perfectly content to fall into that book and never resurface.  It is my heroin of choice.  And now everything else just feels like Methadone.

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I’ll spare plot details, and just share a few thoughts on the story.

 First of all, I am in love with Ollie, the drummer from the Smash Metal Puppets.  He’s so cool and steady.  He doesn’t get caught up in the BS.  He just takes the world as it comes and provides a steady beat.  And even when the red spray paint coloring his mohawk is dripping down his face, he has a serenity about him.  He’s a genuine character.

Secondly, can I just say “That moment when you see past the bullshit.  That’s punk rock.”  not to mention the erruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the twinkie and ravioli explosion that rocked the Dump.   That’s truly punk rock. 

And finally, the ending, while it’s hanging nature is probably one of the main reasons for my inability to move on with my life, is so quiet.  You don’t know how the show goes.  You don’t know if Curt gets better.  You don’t know if Troy gets cool.  You just know that something has changed.  It has to have changed.  But no one died or overcame hardship through the love of family and friends.  There was no miracle moment.  Just conversation.  And a change of perspective.

 In one way or another I felt an affinity with every character, no matter how small.  A beautifully written portrait of teenage life, that avoids sentamentality despite the main characters and their varied problems.  It is a portrait, not a message.  And the reader can decide for his or herself how to take eveything it offers.

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