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Plastic Jesus Hardcover – July 1, 2000


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Hardcover, July 1, 2000
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; 1st edition (July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892284642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892284648
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,610,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brite trades the modern gothic gloom that has chilled most of her fiction to date (Lost Souls; Exquisite Corpse; etc.) for sunny '60s nostalgia in this warm but slight roman ? clef celebrating the Beatles. In her version, the fab four are the Kydds, Liverpool is Leyborough and Lennon and McCartney are, respectively, Seth Grealy and Peyton Masters, creative soulmates whose music takes the world by storm. The twist that turns this homage into one of Brite's trademark explorations of sexual identity is her depiction of Grealy and Masters's working relationship blossoming into a gay romance. The boys' love for one another is an inevitable outgrowth of the feelings they express in songAbut it becomes a point of public controversy that breaks the band apart and sets up Seth for his murder by homophobic assassin Ray Brinker. Though Brite is sensitive in her portrayal of Grealy and Masters's relationship, she is almost too reverent in her fidelity to Beatlemania. The brief tale moves too rapidly and reflexively through well-known historical highlightsAthe band's adoption by manager Brian Epstein (incarnated here as gay record store owner Harold Loomis), their experiments in music and drugs, their vilification by the religious rightAfor events to have any resonance with the central love story. It ends with a wistful wish-fulfillment fantasy too improbable to support its professed moral that "love is worth dying for." In an afterword, Brite reveals she had originally plotted this tale as a full-length novel. Greater length might have yielded greater substance than this fannish tribute.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm the author of eight novels, three short story collections, two nonfiction books, and some miscellanea. My earlier books -- LOST SOULS, DRAWING BLOOD, WORMWOOD, EXQUISITE CORPSE, THE LAZARUS HEART, ARE YOU LOATHSOME TONIGHT? (a.k.a. SELF-MADE MAN) -- tend toward the twisted, horrific, and frequently erotic. I still have a definite interest in this sort of thing, but my writing doesn't reflect it as much these days. My recent books -- THE VALUE OF X, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, LIQUOR, PRIME, and the forthcoming SOUL KITCHEN -- all have to do (in varying degrees) with a couple of young New Orleans chefs named Rickey and G-man, their families, and their restaurant, Liquor. I've been married to a chef for 16 years now and he's still bringing me new stories. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina, but we are back in New Orleans and doing our best to help rebuild the city. I'll note new books, anthology appearances and such here, but to read my day-to-day blog, please visit http://docbrite.livejournal.com/

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on July 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
PLASTIC JESUS is Poppy Z. Brite's answer to her self -asked question, What if John Lennon and Paul McCartney had been lovers? Brite fictionalizes John and Paul with Seth and ? , a couple of English boys in early 60's England. They meet, realize they make a great musical pair, start a band called the KYDDS, make great music, lots of money and tour.
The homosexual aspect is interesting in how Brite shows how attitudes change, however small, in people once they know or work with a gay male. The best thing about this novella is how Brite uses the backdrop of the Stonewall riots as the KYDDS' coming out party. In the end, the cliche "the more things change the more they stay the same" is all too painfully true.
The ending is smart and true to the theme of the whole piece. Poppy also illustrates the book using some very kidlike drawings...at first glance they are very simple, but upon further reflection they are charismatic and intuitive.
Overall a great piece of fiction from a favorite of mine. The artwork by the author herself is an added bonus that you can't pass up.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sarah E. Golding on October 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a good Poppy book. It may be different from the likes of Lost Souls, Drawing Blood, ect. Yet, it is still another wonderful illustration of Poppys detailed, fantastic writing. This book is based on Poppy's (delightful) fantasy of if John and Paul for the Beatles had ever become involved. While the book is based on that dream this is definately an independent and creative novel from Poppy. The chapbook that was sold with the original printing of the novel intitled Would You?--is really Poppys true John and Paul fantasy. Plastic Jesus is a fictional account of two English musicians who start a band called the KYDDS. During the trials and tribulations that every band faces the two lead characters in the band find themselves turning towards each other for support, help, and a long term committed relationship. The story is wonderfully short novella that is both a delight to read and look at. It contains many great Poppy illustrations. If you can find a copy of the book and the chapbook I recommend it. The chapbook Would You? shows Poppy's inspiration for the story. Plastic Jesus is the story that brings both smiles, and sadness. I feel this book showed what a wonderfully diverse writer Poppy is!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alan Robson on November 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Poppy Z. Brite is back with a short novel from Subterranean Press. It's called Plastic Jesus and it will probably be more than a little controversial. It opens with the assassination of a rock singer in New York. He had been a member of a British rock group in the 1960s and even after the group split up, his fame continued. One reason for the group splitting up (not the only reason) was that the group as a whole was unable to cope with the intensity of the love affair between this man and the other major songwriter in the group. Their homosexual love started to loom larger than the music. The pressures broke up the group, but it didn't break the love between the two songwriters - they continued to make music together and on the night that he was gunned down, his lover was in the car and he saw everything. What happens now, asks the novel? How will the survivor cope with losing his lover, his best friend, the man with whom he made such beautiful music?
The premise isn't true, of course. John and Paul weren't lovers (as far as we know) and the Beatles split as much for financial as for personality reasons. But it makes a fascinating speculation all the same. What if John and Paul really had been lovers? Would it have made a difference to the music, a difference to their lives (and indirectly to ours)?
I vividly remember the day John Lennon was shot. I remember going into work that day feeling quite numb. And one of my work colleagues sat all day at her desk just sobbing quietly, but uncontrollably.
Poppy Z. Brite was only thirteen when John died. She was really a generation too young for the Beatles and their music. But that didn't stop her and she loved them dearly. She has a copy of a quirky little self portrait that John once drew tattooed on her left bicep.
Plastic Jesus is her intriguing speculation about what might have been and it is her homage to the ideas and ideals of a very great man. She's done a wonderful job and written a very moving story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josh Hitchens on August 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Poppy Z. Brite has previous documented in her book of essays, "Guilty But Insane" that one of her must abiding fantasies was that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were lovers. In "Plastic Jesus," Brite takes this fantasy and turns it into a fictionalized novella that is quite a departure from her previous work.

"Plastic Jesus" tells the story of the rock band The Kydds, who have become the greatest rock band in the world. The group's most influential members, Seth and Peyton, are incredible music partners, and eventually become sexual partners as well. Their openly gay relationship knocks open doors in the 1960's, making the world rethink it's prejudice. All of this comes to a tragic end when Seth is murdered, and Peyton is left alone to tell his story.

This novella does a very good job of creating the late 60's atmosphere, and the characters are exquisitely drawn, always something you can count on with Poppy Z. Brite. Essential for fans of her work, "Plastic Jesus" is probably most enjoyed by those who possess a knowledge of The Beatles and their history, and an open mind.
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