Monday, April 17, 2017

Boys in the 80s


I forget where I saw a review or comment that made me think I needed to put The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak on my library hold list sooner rather than later but I saw it and I did it. It's the story of three boys that want to pull off the perfect heist of a Playboy issue. One of them is super into early computer gaming and so is the daughter of the store owner where they want to steal the magazine. This leads to an unexpected friendship and a lot of big decisions.

First, the good stuff. This story really felt true to the 80s. It made me remember early computers, crappy love songs, and old mall stores. Now the bad stuff. This story really felt true to the 80s. It reminded me of the horrible words that us 80s kids used to throw around, the casual sexism and racism, the shitty way single mothers were treated. I liked this story but I strongly disliked one of the boys and hated another one of them. The end is also a bit farfetched, although I did feel that the boy I disliked redeemed himself somewhat. All of the blurbs on the cover that use the words "sweet", "funny", "hilarious"? I'm not sure I read the same book that they did. I thought this was a dark but honest story. We may get nostalgic for the past but the day-to-day reality might not be as rosy as we remember.


My 80s itch wasn't fully scratched after that first novel so I picked up Jason Diamond's Searching for John Hughes. This book reminded me why I used to be (and need to be again) very, very picky about which memoirs I was willing to read. I did not like this guy much at all. I felt bad for him when he was a kid because both of his parents were HORRID but, ugh, how many times can someone claim to have recognized his privilege and then still go ahead acting the same way as he did before? How self-centered do you have to be to keep treating people like crap who are trying to help you and be friendly? He ultimately only gets his shit together because he is handed the job that becomes his career. This was not the love letter to the 80s that I was expecting. This guy wasn't even born until like 1980/81. Again, blurbs that use words like "hilarious" and "charm" don't make any sense to me after reading this book. It is dark and depressing and not a fun read.

So, now that I've read two books that weren't satisfying 80s reads, recommend me something about the 80s that I *will* like. (I am one of the ones that totally loved both of Ernie Cline's books, Ready Player One and Armada.) Please.

Looking back with distaste,
K

7 comments:

  1. I honestly can't think of a book, but Stranger Things (Netflix) was an 80s homage. You've probably seen it, but if not, you should.

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    1. I have and it was great! I can't wait for season 2.

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  2. I was going to recommend Stranger Things too! I can't think of a book, tbh

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    1. I can't either! I want an 80s book where the main characters aren't jerks. Is that too much to ask?

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  3. Same -- can't recommend any books, but I loved Stranger Things and also Sing Street which is about a young Irish guy who forms a band to impress a girl. So much 80s music, it was charming. There are also original songs which are a definite homage to various musical trends, it's a hoot.

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    1. Oh, I'll look for Sing Street! It sounds like something I would love.

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  4. I enjoyed The Impossible Fortress more than I expected too:) Glad u liked it.

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