Arminzerella's Reviews > Hairstyles of the Damned

Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno
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I have the weirdest sensation that I’ve already read this…This was entertaining and kind of fluffy high school relationship stuff. You’ve seen all of these characters before, and they’re not all that distinguished here, but Joe Meno does really have the language down, and the sense of time. If you grew up in that era, you’ll feel right at home…and maybe anyone growing up at all would be able to relate to the constant flow of profanity that doesn’t even have any real purpose except to pepper your language because you want to sound different. We did this, too.

It has that same sort of hazy feel to it…like not much is happening, not much is going on – very GenX, we are so BORED with it all. And there’s this pain, too, of wanting people and having your first experiences with desire and longing, and the first relationships, or encounters. It’s pretty well done.

Brian Oswald is a high school kid, and his best friend is the somewhat chunky, Gretchen who’s into the punk music scene (or at least the look and the most popular music). Brian realizes he has a huge crush on Gretchen, but she’s so not interested in him. She wants the older and more daring and dangerous Tony Degan (who’s in his early twenties but still in high school or still hanging around with the high school crowd). They don’t have much to do or anywhere to go really – except the local food joints, driving around and listening to music in Gretchen’s car. We all did these things. The lovely displaced youth that we are. Brian starts out as kind of a heavy metal kid and gradually evolves into the real punk scene. This is all about his experimentation, finding out who he is and what he wants to be, trying out all sorts of different styles and people and groups. He drifts a bit, but the central theme is this experimentation with everything. The growing up bit. Definitely resonates with me.

Gretchen is a size 12, which last time I checked, could be considered a medium. She’s always going on about what a disgusting cow she is, so maybe she feels big, but she isn’t. This annoys me. It could be just who Gretchen is, but if it’s the author, he just has no idea about size. None at all. Girls reading that who are a size 12 or larger will think, omigod, I’m Huge! Or maybe not. Not an accurate perception. I hate books about fat girls, because they’re all inevitably about how the fat girl wants to be thin. There are no jolly fat people in novels under the age of 60.
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