Bloomingulch

JL Walters
JL Walters. JL Walters, $28.32 hardcover (108p) ISBN 978-0-9848987-1-8
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In Walters's vivid but unalluring exploration of rebellion and wasted youth, disenchanted teens search for an alternative to the monotonous late 20th-century world of "church, school, Saturday. Church, school, Sunday." The kids escape downtown and spend their days and nights stealing and screwing and partying with booze and drugs aplenty. Adult life offers little better in this world of anomie: a clever alternation of scenes pits the teens against apparently squeaky-clean grownups whose clichéd lives are simply empty or tragic. And while Bloomingulch is presented as a college town where life is about "protracted transition," it seems otherwise nondescript: a neutral platform where drugged-out, sexed-up young people contend with the Establishment. Additionally, the rebellious teens are not sharply delineated or defined. The sole ambition of Lucas Waltham and his friends—a cast of characters as disaffected as any of Bret Easton Ellis's—is to coast along with the prevailing tide. Although the readiness of the teens to use "correct" adult language as a means of self-preservation provides an ironic contrast to their deportment with peers, Walter makes no pretensions to social comment, complexity, or characterization. Instead, he leaves us with a society populated by misfits who engage our sympathies not at all. While the author's bleak view of the emptiness pervading society will appeal to readers attuned to the dregs of society, others may want to skip a trip to Bloomingulch.
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