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Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011: Mostly set in the Lower East Side of 1980s New York City, Ten Thousand Saints is that rare book that paints scenes so vividly you can imagine the movie in your head. I wanted to live inside its pages, where I could imagine not just the scenes themselves, but the cameras, the lights, the actors reading their lines off to the sides of the set. Main character Jude Keffy-Horn--named after a Beatles song by his adoptive hippy parents--spends his high school days in small town Vermont getting high with his best friend Teddy, waiting to turn 16, when he can legally drop out. When Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude is sent to live with his pot-dealer father in New York City. Jude soon falls in with a group of straight edge Hari Krishnas, where his commitment to abstinence in all forms--drugs, sex, meat--becomes an addiction itself. Jude struggles to create an identity amongst the extreme movements taking root downtown, while his parents struggle to understand their son’s rejection of their free love culture. Author Eleanor Henderson's meticulous research into the straight edge movement in the late 1980s has opened a door to a piece of history handled with love, care, and incredibly unforgettable characters. --Alexandra Foster
Henderson debuts with a coming-of-age story set in the 1980s that departs from the genre's familiar tropes to find a panoramic view of how the imperfect escape from our parents' mistakes makes (equally imperfect) adults of us. Jude Keffy-Horn and Teddy McNicholas are drug-addled adolescents stuck in suburban Vermont and dreaming of an escape to New York City. But after Teddy dies of an overdose, Jude makes good on their dream and forms a de facto family with Teddy's straight-edge brother, Johnny; Jude's estranged pot-farmer father, Lester; and the troubled Eliza Urbanski, who may be carrying Teddy's child. What results is an odyssey encompassing the age of CBGB, Hare Krishnas, zines, and the emergence of AIDS. Henderson is careful, amid all this youthy nostalgia, not to sideline the adults, who look upon the changing fashions with varying levels of engagement. Still, the narrative occasionally teeters into a didactic, researched tone that may put off readers to whom the milieu isn't new-but the commitment to its characters and jettisoning of hayseed-in-the-city cliché distinguish a nervy voice adept at etching the outlines of a generation, its prejudices and pandemics, and the idols killed along the way. (June)
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Great writing style for a coming of age story depicted in the late '80's.Published 2 months ago by L. Schulz
This story resonates deeply with me being similar in age to the main characters and that it inspired me to change my life around, and any book that can change my perspective... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Emma1300
I don't know why I continued reading. Maybe I kept hoping that something significant would happen. That someone in the book would do something sane or smart. It didn't happen. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carolyn Dargevics
For me, it was just depressing and full of characters I didn't want to know or try to understand.Published 4 months ago by Vicki Ratliff
I could not put down this insightful, intelligently written novel, so evidently nurtured by painful truths. I could have kept reading...Published 7 months ago by Joan D.
Eleanor Henderson’s ‘Ten-thousand Saints’ is unique in many ways. In short, it is the story of a young misdirected guy (Jude) whose best friend dies of an OD on New Year ’s Eve... Read morePublished 7 months ago by John Yancura