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Homeboy Hardcover – May 12, 1990

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Joe Speaker, a junkie and barker at a San Francisco strip joint, finds a 69-carat blue diamond that involves him in a murder/blackmail deal and lands him in jail. ``Overall the novel and its sad look at prison life are marred by a highly derivative thriller plot, with characters . . . all tending to talk the same combination of hipster slang and B-movie cliches,'' said PW.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When Joe Speaker, barker for a San Francisco strip joint, pulls off a caper inadvertently involving a precious diamond necklace, he incurs the wrath of porno king Baby Jewels and the interest of Detective Tarzon. Joe is sent to prison, where he breaks a drug habit and survives by his wits. Meanwhile, on the outside, Baby Jewels is maneuvering; Joe's girl friend is shacked up and pregnant; and various people are plotting, acting, and reacting. There is a dazzling vitality to this first novel. The language is raw; the characters are fresh and outrageous; the style is wicked and impudent. And in the dramatization of good versus evil (and the difficulty of sometimes telling the difference), the author succeeds in providing substance. Though not for readers looking for a standard thriller, this offbeat novel is outstanding and certain to be talked about. (Note: The title refers to prison slang for buddy. )-- Robert E. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (May 12, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517091127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394575773
  • ASIN: 0394575776
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kim on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my all time favorite books. I am now buying my third copy to read again. My first copy I loaned to an inmate while working as a prison counselor. The guy made parole and took the book. Oh well. I found a copy again in a book store and thinking I learned my lesson, loaned it to a co-worker (now a probation officer). Again, the book did not come back. I've recommended it to so many people and have decided to try again. It's really a great description of an entirely different lifestyle. An enlightening description of "life on the edge".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tim Johnson on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not normally a fiction reader but even though "Homeboy" was copywrited in 1990 I ordered and read it because I came across a recent reference to the novel that indicated it was about San Francisco. Oh yes-it was about The City and although I had lived there many years ago and could still recognize the street names and neigborhoods that was the extent of my recognition. Seth Morgan penetrates the belly of the beast to an extent that his San Francisco and later California, might just as well be on the dark side of the moon in terms of it's familiarity to what I knew of SF.
I know little about fiction writing but I can say that Morgan organized Homeboy differently than the other fiction works I've read. He has divided Homeboy into short little mini-chapters like many contemporary TV shows-stories built around a particular theme but broken into disparate separate dramas that weave in and out of each other. You must be aware because these mini-chapters dissolve and reform in new settings and at different times and because the book is so dense be prepared for a demanding ride.
This ride is bleak and uncompromising-you will be confronted by situations and activities that I, as a neophyte crime reader, had never been confronted with before. For instance, the section titled Fence Parole is as hard a piece of writing as you might find or the scene played out in Hotshot-tough stuff for a little suburban guy like me.
If you like well writen books that deal with hard subjects then Homeboy is for you-seek it out because it will be worth your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. douglas on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Seth Morgans first and last completed novel is a simultaneously brilliant and uneasy read that like an addiction, first captivates then unravels itself until the reader is rendered helpless to its grimy power.

His story begins deep in the gut of a seedy San Francisco underbelly and ends up ensconsed in the heart of a prison hell. As the story unravels, we are introduced to a smorgasbord of whacked out, grimy, and tragic characters whos' tales gather around us to weave a web of terrifyingly real and sometimes disarmingly surreal situations. The story of 'Homeboy', if it is broken down to its core, is surprisingly simple, but it is told in a way that demands the reader to concentrate. Like the first minutes in a subtitled movie, we are forced to think hard about what we are reading.

But the beauty in 'Homeboy' lies not in the story, but the unbelievable use of the English language. His descriptions of seemingly simple places, people and events are described using words that a terrestrial author would never dream of using. And yet these descriptions paint a picture of incredible detail, you can almost physically smell the stench of wretched human lives steaming out between the cracks of Coldwater Prison and feel the warm chill of heroin as it is pumped through the brittle veins of 'Rings n Things'.

The fact that we will never have the honour of another complete book by Seth Morgan is tragic. But unlike Jeff Buckley and countless other gifted artists taken from us before their time, Seth's death seems somehow apt and befits the legacy of what he has left us described within the well thumbed pages of 'Homeboy'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you don't mind spending a few heart-pounding hours stuck inside the filth and sewage of the lower end of Northern California's food chain, then you are sure to be rewarded when you read this unforgettable portrait of a cast of lowlifes. Consistently "used, and abused, served like hell," (Grandmaster Flash's words, not Seth Morgan's) the characters in this work, from a junkie strip club barker to a overpierced hooker, from the stereotypical cop with a mission to the snuff-film making drug-dealing fat man, bring to life a world most people (including me) never see. For all I know it doesn't even exist, but Seth Morgan makes it seem as if it does. Not only does the plot sizzle but Morgan's use of language adds something new to the literary world. Pick this book up if you can find it and you'll be sucked into the fastest moving story this side of Morgan's own biography.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book, along with A Confederacy of Dunces and Mysterious Skin, is at the top of my list of late 20th century American novels. I love the way Morgan riffs on all our preconceptions about life on the street and the down-and-outs who inhabit that netherworld. I fell in love with his raw, twisted, soaring, trembling, searching characters. His genius has him creating a way-way-way cool language which gives that world a shiny, slick-stained life of its own. At the same time he imbues all his homeboys and girls with a shocking humanity... shocking only because most of us never recognize that humanity when we pass these fringe-dwellers on the street. This is a book which challenges the reader to actually believe that, no matter how much our personal histories, predilections, addictions, and traumas set us apart from each other, our basic need for love and acceptance binds us together in a much deeper, powerful way. Oh, and the wild-eyed plot kicks butt, too - climb on board and take the ride!
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