Alex Morra's Reviews > Bad Reputation

Bad Reputation by Ajax Bell
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it was amazing

Ajax completely nailed the angst of the west coast queer scene in the early 80's... and of the post-punk music scene, which captured the fallout (no pun intended) of the tail end of the cold war combined with the effects of the Reagan-Thatcher era and their trickle-down theory. And, in Shane, Bell finds someone with so little recourse and so little control over the direction he can take in his life, he turns to mosh pits let out excess energy and to bathhouses to let in some comfort.

Having read the trilogy (oh, but please let there be more), I think this is my favorite. It is dark but... well, there's Bash, who has got to be one of the kindest men ever created. Bash, who doesn't try to change Shane, but does provide an out for the life he can't seem to escape. Bash, who truly accepts people unconditionally. Bash, who patiently shows up and waits for Shane to recognize what is right in front of him.

My goodness, it's healing.

I also have a soft spot for Jamie, who isn't the best friend in this particular novel. Nor is he portrayed in the best light in Just Like Honey (which is amazing...please read it), but for someone who skirts what is so inappropriate, he's intermittently fierce and willing to push a friend to be a better version of themselves. In my mind, he's the most interesting side character in the series. Complex. Unabashed ( pun intended). Very definitely not on the right side of history. But also...compelling. Like I really wonder what would happen if he got his own Bash (who wouldn't be Bash but someone else).

It is grim but heartfelt and absolutely wonderful.
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Reading Progress

December 26, 2017 – Started Reading
December 26, 2017 – Shelved
January 1, 2018 – Finished Reading

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