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Ten Thousand Saints: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 7, 2011
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the main characters dies of a drug overdose in the story's set up and exists in the remainder of the book as a point of reference. I didn't find any of the characters to interest me or have me sympathize with their plight though I wanted to, I really did.
I must admit that I continued reading until the very end as the author managed to bring this sad and cautionary tale of drugs and living on the fringe in NYC to life. I kept hoping to relate with someone, anyone, in the pages but for me this never happened. I'm giving the author's writing skills 5 stars but the story only gets 2 stars. I'm rounding down on this one. I'm sure there are many readers more into this New York scene than I & I'm hoping they discover this work. I'm also looking forward to the next work by Eleanor Henderson - she had a good start with this one & I'm sure she has better works ahead, she's certainly capable.
Adults are as important to the story as the teenagers and the effects of parents' actions on their children is a major theme of the book. Jude and his sister Prudence's divorced parents both make their living from marijuana as their dad Les is a prosperous grower and dealer while their artist mother Harriet, perhaps the most stable parent in the novel, makes her living from blowing glass bongs and pipes. Eliza's mom who at the beginning of the story is also Les's girlfriend is a self absorbed ballerina while Teddy and Johnny's mom is an aging hippie known for disappearing when ever things get uncomfortable. Johnny's dad is a prison inmate and Teddy's dad is an unknown man of Asian Indian descent who turns up toward the end of the book and is not what this reader at least expected.Read more ›
Overcome with grief over the death of his best friend, yet unable to express himself, Jude heads to New York and finds Johnny, Teddy's straight-edge half-brother. (Straight-edge kids swear off drugs, alcohol, sex, and often meat, but follow the hardcore punk scene.) When they find out that Eliza is pregnant with Teddy's child from their encounter at the party the night he died, Johnny sees this as a chance to form a real family, one that has escaped him for so long. Yet he must deal with the demons inside himself, as well as Jude's jealousy, on so many different levels. This is a book about finding yourself and realizing what makes a family, about the hardcore music scene of the late 1980s and the changing demographics of New York City, and about trying to avoid making the same mistakes your parents made.
I thought this book was pretty fantastic. Eleanor Henderson created some truly memorable characters and gave each surprising depth, which made me feel truly invested in what happened to them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great compliment to others books about this period like Patti Smith's Just Kids. What I found it fascinating to see another side of the New York scene. ThePublished 3 months ago by Sharon Russell
The book was set in the mid 1980's which is when I was a teen. The beginning of the book was interesting and I found it relatable to some of my own experiences. Read morePublished 3 months ago by DebS
Loved the plot, the characters. This book sticks in your mind and won't let go. I read A LOT and it is hard to find books that have substance and this is certainly one.Published 4 months ago by Pamala Saylor
Chosen by my on-line book club, “Ten Thousand Saints” by Eleanor Henderson is about abandonment, adoption, fetal alcohol syndrome, abortion, bullying, HIV, and homosexuality. Read morePublished 5 months ago by seniorchoice
It floats along in an almost dreamlike state, but with the weight of reality always present. It is uplifting & sobering at the same time. Read morePublished 6 months ago by CjM
I wasn't captivated by the storyline or the writing style. If the topics of straight-edge, punk, hardcore, or the New York AIDS epidemic interest you inherently, you may be more... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Natalie Downing
Longer than needed, rambled and seemed unfocused. Kept waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did. Odd ending that was out of sync with the rest of the book.Published 8 months ago by Kim