- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Kensington (June 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0758222653
- ISBN-13: 978-0758222657
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From the Author
If you enjoyed Band Fags! be sure to check out the official sequel "A Christmas to Remember" as featured in the collection Remembering Christmas.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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At first, this book is overwhelming and slightly off putting because of the vast amount of information, but once I got into it and knew the characters I was hooked. Some of the scenes have so much raw emotion. The inner thoughts of the protagonist really add to the realness of these scenes.
There are a lot of 80's pop culture references. I was born in 1988. The protagonist graduates high school in 1988. So, I didn't know some of the references. But, I googled a lot of them to understand what the characters were talking about and it really added to the story. I liked the way they were used. It made the book feel even more autobiographical. One reference I didn't get was the use of "dah-dah, dah-dah". At one point I thought it might be the Jaws song, but I am still unsure. I'm looking forward to reading Polito's Lost in the 90's because I won't need as much google assistance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I want to read Drama Queers! eventually, but I think I'll have to be in the right mood for it. This is an extensive novel, that is definitely worth a read. If you were in high school in the late 80's, you will probably enjoy this book even more. I give it a 4/5.
The novel is a long run along with Brad and Jack in the middle of the '80, with all the icons of that time, soap-operas, movies, music and glossy magazines. It was somewhat a fake world, but to the eyes of young Jack that was the real thing. Jack who is in love with a soap-opera soubrette, an imaginary girlfriend he considers real and for this reason tries to replace in his real life with similar look-alikes. Jack who always played girl games, who has always preferred to tag along his girl best friends and who, when Brad comes into the picture, finds finally the perfect best friend: Brad likes soap-operas and fashion, and Brad understands Jack perfectly.
But while Jack growing up is trying to find the perfect girlfriend, all the time trying also to hide his secret fantasies for various young and hot same age boys, Brad never once shows any real interest for girls; again there is an obvious reason, and again it's not that Brad is trying to hide it, by Jack doesn't want to know, doesn't want to see. When finally Brad finds the courage to "come out" (i.e. to force Jack to see the plain truth), the tragedy fall down upon them, a tragedy that is as big as few are their years; again to an external reader everything is simple, why Jack cannot admit he is gay? Why is he being so mean to Brad, his best friend, the only guy who has always understood him and more than once helped him? The reason is as the same simple: they are teenagers, they are not "little men" with a adult mind, and they are behaving like kids, as they should.
What I want to highlight is that, even if Jack is gay, he is also "in-the-making": he is still trying to understand himself, to put together all the pieces of his existence, and no adult, or best friend, can rush this process; they can encourage him, support him, like Brad and also Jack's mother do, but he has to arrive to the final solution of the puzzle of his youth alone, and conscious of his evolution. Maybe Jack is a little slower than other teenagers, than Brad, maybe the reader will think "but how you cannot understand yourself, when we have understood everything already?", but this is Jack's life, not ours, not Brad; even if Brad is an important part of that life.
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