Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Finished: "Pepperland" by Mark Delaney

Finished: Pepperland by Mark Delaney, 2004, 9781561453177.

This was supposed to be a committee book.  There is a 2013 title but when I checked the catalog I reserved the first Pepperland I saw.  Oh well. I enjoyed this YA one anyway.

Star is in therapy after her mother's recent cancer death in 1980.  Star lives with her step-dad Sykes - who is a good dad - has a best male friend names Dooley, and plays guitar a lot. Star's mom loved the Beatles so Star loves the Beatles.

Star is having some grief issues so it's good she has a therapist.  Throughout the book she gets better.  Dooley is accused of being gay and gets his locker graffitied with "fag".  Star finds her mother's old acoustic guitar which withered and split in the warm LA air.  Star takes the guitar to a shop and strikes a deal with shop owner to help in the shop in lieu of the $300 repair bill.  Dooley proclaims himself straight and tries to prove it by impulsively swapping spit with Star.  Star looks though her mom's old stuff and finds an unmailed letter to John Lennon written in 1964.  Star is intent on hand delivering the letter when Lennon appears in concert with Elton John in LA.

1. A decent story and Star's first person narrative was entertaining.
2.  Delaney's afterword mentions how he took liberties in creating a Lennon/John concert for the story.
3.  I wonder how would Star have reacted to Lennon's murder. I think the girl would have been devastated.  Not just because of her own love for Lennon but for her deceased mom's.
4.  I think the Dooley kid is gayer than gay and is faking it because of anti-gay pressure from others and by himself.  But, these are teenagers and awkwardness is normal so why shouldn't he be a teeth colliding kisser and unable to turn from pal to boyfriend?  If Dooley is gay I wonder how that character would fair as a young guy in the AIDS disasters of the 1980s. Reminds me of the Karen Finley book I read where almost all her friends and colleagues died within just a couple years.  What a freaking health disaster that was. 
5.  Kid lit cliche of helping out in exchange for services.  How the kid character and storekeeper bond and learn and grow through their problems.  Bleagh.

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