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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and somewhat scary trip down memory lane., July 30, 2000
This review is from: Retro Hell: Life in the `70s and `80S, from Afros to Zotz (Paperback)
If you were born between 1965 to 1979, this book is aimed at you. You may end up disagreeing with many of the entries, but not because they're wrong- just because it can be so embarrassing to see your past held up in a modern light.
This is an encyclopaedic recounting of pop-culture memories of many authors, and was originally published in 3 consecutive issues of Darby's magazine "Ben is Dead". One of the unfortunate side-effects of the translation from magazine to book has been the loss of a bit of material. Most/all of the supplementary articles and sidebars have been lost; a lot of pictures have been dropped (possibly from copyright or trademark infringement?); individual entries have been changed, either to remove possibly inflammatory material, or for some judicious editing. Some entries are gone all-together.
But, after 5+ years, my copies of BiD are brown and curling from acidic decay, water damage, constant re-reading. This book is a more durable, more easily transportable, more easily read and shared compendium of what is undoubtedly the best part of the original 3 issues.
For most entries, there are comments from multiple authors- if you don't like what someone wrote about your favorite subject, there's someone else right after them that wrote exactly what you wish you could say. You'll have old dusty memories jarred- both pleasant and unpleasant. You'll cringe in agony when you realize just how stupid we looked drawing a "Z" in the dirt to run faster when wearing Zips shoes. You'll recall that night you saw Pink Lady & Jeff on TV and realized adults didn't know what they were doing, either. You'll also get a lot of info on regional fads (typically southern California) that may not mean much in the rest of the country, but makes for interesting reading.
The best part about the book is the editorial decision to not just concentrate on the happy/good parts of our collective past. A lot of dirt is listed, too, which will make some people uncomfortable, but it makes the book probably the most honest of the pop-culture books that reference the 70s. Instead of sanitizing and making palatable what was, in all honesty, an incredibly vapid and tasteless era, Retro Hell is more of a catharsis for everyone who grew up in that time. The book's not just a fun read, but it'll probably make you a better person, too.
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