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Punk Elegies: True Tales of Death Trip Kids, Wrongful Sex, and Trial by Angel Dust Paperback – April 21, 2015
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
"Set in the glittering ruins of late 1970s Hollywood, MacDonell's coming-of-age tale tracks the rise and folly of L.A. punk. Searing, comic and self-immolating, Elegies ultimately becomes a love letter to lost time."
Evan Wright, Generation Kill and Hella Nation
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In his wandering portrait of less an era than a person, that being himself, PUNK ELEGIES: TRUE TALES OF DEATH TRIP KIDS, WRONGFUL SEX, AND TRAIL BY ANGEL DUST, he delivers on the lurid tease of the book's subtitle. His stories are full of abuse, which could get tiresome if not for his sardonic humor, a dark star at the center of a darker existence. For the most part he sidetracks the storied "events" and "personalities," focusing on the less successful, marginalized characters who deserve their own books but will have to settle for MacDonell's until that wrong is righted.
He gives a man-in-the-gutter view of what it was like to devote one's life to nothing. That's not fair, but MacDonell is the picture of indifference. He mocks fandom, though comes across as a more rarified fan; can't be bothered to be in a band, though his appreciation of music is visceral; distances himself with a sharp comedic slant, though flirts with the intimacy of its dramatic twin, tragedy. What can you say? MacDonell is a complicated guy. He's also a fine guide who makes you feel lucky to call him friend, even though you know outside the printed page he'd never tolerate you. That's okay. It's what time and space is for, perspective.
MacDonell doesn't say it, but you sense he's a different man now. The book is too honest to end with an epiphany, but you do feel by the final pages as if the wheels have gone off the ride. It's a testament to MacDonell's talents that you hope the crash wasn't too hard.
Germs, X, Weirdos, Screamers, Go-Go's, Slash Magazine, the Masque, all represented in brilliant detail as it really was. My only fear was when at one point Mr. MacDonell goes to The Whiskey A-Go-Go to see the debut of the English band The Jam, I was ready for a provincial dissing of this band who I adore, but glory be, as with everything else MacDonell is solid gold in his support of Paul, Bruce and John. You add John Doe, who I coincidentally ran into this very morning outside my office on Hollywood Blvd., getting punched up by a lunk head Val behind the old Licorice Pizza on Sunset Blvd. and my friends, if you have even the slightest inclination toward these topics, a grand time in Mr. Wizard's time machine can be had by all. So if you think you got a junkie memoir to write do us all a favor and stop now, it's been done. Thankfully Mr. MacDonell realized this before he wrote word one and we are all lucky for his prescience