Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Their liberty to choose"--a review by VOYA

A brief but perceptive review of THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET from Susan Allen of VOYA magazine:

The punk music scene of Trenton, New Jersey, in the 1980s is the setting for this debut novel. In the fictional punk music Club 321, the nineteen-year-old main character, Nick Lablanche, seeks to escape from his “normal,” suburban life. He is not a punk/rebel stereotype; he is a regular guy, seeking help to overcome depression and trying to find a way to live life on his own terms. The reader shares Nick’s feelings as he walks into this counterculture portrayed by blood- and mud-stained floors, skinheads, raw sex, unfettered language, and loud, raucous music. Feelings include discovery, trepidation, exhilaration, and fear. The tension between the violent, yelling counterculture and the “suburban raised” Nick keeps the reader involved. The author kept journals of his punk-music-club-hopping days and used them in his writing to keep the punk scene real and vibrant. The writing is like the music of that time. It is stark, not many metaphors, with quick, short starts and stops. There are no long passages and the focus of the text is razor-sharp. The characters are real as well. They portray older youth and adults seeking ways to live their lives differently than what they know. They realize they have choices, some that will bring difficult consequences, but still show their individuality and demonstrate their liberty to choose.