Small Town Punk
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Small Town Punk

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Latch Key Kids-- Sarasota, Florida in 1982 is a dreary, seaside resort town from which the only escape seems to be accepting a corrupt existence. Buzz, a 17-year-old punk, can see no honest future ahead of him. “The anticipation of things is always better than what really happens,” he notes. He and his sister Sissy, along with their two friends Albino and Dave, spend the...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published April 28th 2001 by Writers Club Press (first published 2001)
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Ig Publishing
"Small Town Punk is full of raw feeling and taut smart prose. John Sheppard gets that Reagan-era rage and humor just right. This novel is an ode to those kids at the dead-end jobs who knew that the morning in America was really dusk at best, but had each other, a little weed, and gas."--Sam Lipsyte

"...authentic..with a sense of natural, unforced humor."--Booklist

Trapped in dreary Sarasota, Florida in the early 1980s—during Reagan’s “Morning in America,”—going to high school with junior fascists...more
I am usually not the biggest fan of MFA lit; however, this is a great coming of age story. Smart, not over written and the efficiency of the writing works very well. I look forward to reading more from Sheppard.
about the same kind of writing style as hairstyles of the damned.
Spot on story of teenage rage.
Maybe I'm being generous by giving this 2 stars. I would say that I can appreciate that someone would paint a picture of small town teen punks living in the deep south, but there was still a lot lacking in this book.

The novel was relatively bland. I mean, I didn't come away from it feeling like I actually emotionally connected with the characters. Maybe that was the whole point. The characters themselves were disconnected and disillusioned with their lives, their town, their families, and "the...more
Kinda disappointed in this average book. I'm giving it 3 stars, while it should get 2.5.... While there were some moments of clarity, robust and real descriptions of the hell of working at crapholes like Pizza Hut, and terrific passages like this:

"Every time I'd go to a friend's house, I'd excuse myself and go to the master bathroom and thieve out of the medicine cabinet. It was a tense world. Moms and dads needed pharmaceuticals to get through the day. Reganomics may have been great for stockbr
The concept of motive is so narrowly defined in both fiction and existence. The word is so often defined in the most Newtonian nature--a strict, measurable sequence of events that are reversible. Sure, there are precipitating stimuli in the world of Buzz, the main character of this novel (an abusive father, alcoholic mother, crazy grandmother, the Reagan era), but these don't satisfyingly explain this boy's hatred for the world and himself, nor his drive to maintain a close and deep relationship...more
Most reviews I've seen of this book talk about how it reminds the reviewer of him or herself growing up as a small town punk rocker. I grew up as a small town punk rocker, and while I could see similarities (hanging around with nothing to do, stealing beer, smoking cigarettes, casual sex etc) the differences were more obvious. The kids in this (I'm assuming semi-autobiographical) book are nihilistic and dumb. I just couldn't relate to some of the things being said and done.

That said, it's not a...more
Jessica Espinoza
This book helped me better understand myself as a person.
I'm getting more and more into Sheppard the more I read of him.The writing is raw and gritty, but the emotion is heartbreaking and tender. That's the really marvelous thing for me, how different the starkness of the prose and the content is contrasted against the quiet melancholy of the emotions it evokes. I'm still trying to figure out whether this one or "Alpha Mike Foxtrot" is my current Sheppard favorite.
A slight, badly written, incoherent and mostly inauthentic novel of growing up punk in Florida in the Reagan years. Offering little in the way of insight, John Sheppard is living proof that an MFA from a jock college (U of FLA) has no more value than one gotten from the back of a cereal box.
Realistic to the point of having no likable characters. Sheppard must've done something right, though, as I finished it in 2 or 3 sittings over the course of one evening.
I loved this simply told story about high school kids simply living their lives and being teenagers living in the 1980s in Florida. A great read
A modern Catcher in the Rye. There's a certain nostalgia there for those of us who were small town punk rockers in the 80's.
"Oh, I'm an angry teenager in Sarasota! Woe is me!" Other than that, not a bad snapshot of life in a crappy town.
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A veteran of the U.S. Army, John Sheppard's short stories have appeared in Bridge magazine, the2ndhand and Exquisite Corpse. He is a frequent contributor to and
More about John Sheppard...
Alpha Mike Foxtrot Tales of the Peacetime Army Carl Versus the Men from Mars: Bombast, Drivel, Odds and Ends Ten Days Loner: Stories

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