Marsha's Reviews > Lost in the '90s

Lost in the '90s by Frank Anthony Polito
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I tried very hard to like this book. After all, I lived through the nineties; it should be as topical to me as anybody else over the age of twenty. But I was born in the 1960s and this book is written from the point of view of teenagers. Therefore, the tone is rather adolescent and it’s not really touching me very deeply. True, a couple of the characters are facing crises. Two girls are pregnant while in high school and their boyfriends aren’t exactly being helpful about the situation.

But the references for the 90s fly so thick and fast that it often feels like I’m reading a “Who’s Who in History” book. Every other page, a lyric from some song I don’t recall and never listened to will be written and I’m staring at it dumbly, thinking, “What song is this?” That’s what bogs down this story for me. It’s not just a period in history but a period for a narrow niche of people who had tastes in music, clothing, food and opinions that were polar opposites from mine.

I’ll admit that it doesn’t get in the way of the story…much. But I wasn’t really a big fan of music from the 1990s and a lot of the references leave me baffled. When Kurt (the protagonist) gets choked up while watching the tv telling about Kurt Cobain’s disappearance (he knows Cobain’s body will be found in a few days since he’s from the future), I don’t really care much. When I think of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I think of the Weird Al Yankovic parody.

Still the book doesn’t stray too far from the emotions and travails of its characters and in that it does succeed in achieving a tone of realism. The individual voices are distinct and their problems told in a kind of freestyle patter that lets you know their innermost thoughts.

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