13. Beautiful Children, Charles Bock

18 Apr

Beautiful Children

 

I read Beautiful Children by Charles Bock when it came out in 06 and recently was inspired to re-read it because I’ve been thinking about male identity and teenage street kids. This is going to sound weird considering the popularity of the Bildungsroman, but I don’t feel like I’ve read a lot of good writing about young-male identity, especially writing with a limber and grounded-in-the-body consciousness. These grubby little boys in this book were such boys. There was a girl character (known as the girl with the shaved head) who was one of the most engaging for me, in terms of narrative, but mainly it’s a boy book and the women are somewhat…poles of yearning. It’s all comic books and porn stars and cruising around aimlessly and hyperactivity and pointless teenage suburban rebellion and the taste of drugstore candy. Not to imply that it’s anything other than grown-up literature. The basic plot is about a runaway/ disappeared hyperactive young kid ( 11? 13?) in Vegas sometime in the 90s, with the story of his grieving parents trying to deal with his disappearance spliced in with the events leading up to the disappearance. Structurally, it is cool. And the writing is absolutely amazing, funny and indebted to DFW. Great read, x2.

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