The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

With that same pragmatic sentimentality and alienation of Holden Caulfield in JD Salinger's Catcher in The Rye, this book I think is much better than its film version. While working for the final revision of this novel, Chris Fuhrman may have lost the battle against cancer but won the war for making his story effective, serving as a testament of his legacy as a writer.

From the first pages you imagine that you are watching a teenage adventure film like Goonies (it may excite you or annoy you) but only to be surprised by its unwarned mischiefs, heartbreaks, lust and violence up to the unexpected anticlimax all weaved in a taut narrative from the eye of the novel's protagonist Francis Doyle.

Unlike most of the coming-of-age stories that we know, the author wrote with less drama and more with impressionism that reminded me of Hemingway. The setting is Savannah, Georgia 1974---the twilight years of the hippie generation. It's also the generation of the civil rights movement and the feminist movement when Afro-American citizens marched the streets and mothers look up to The Sensous Woman as their pillow book, but just like any kind of mainstream and cultural revolution of history, people are becoming more confused and alienated than before.

All in all, it's never too easy to forget the gang of Tim, Francis, Rusty, Wade and Joey (and Margie). God, forgive these children for they were only thirteen.

memorable quotes:

"Adulthood doesn't interest me. My only worry is drinking will stunt my growth."

"Trouble is our only defense against boredom, Francis.  You know that's the truth."

"Every adult is the creation of a child...My life is the result of that boy's dreams and limitations, and of the company that boy kept a long time ago, back when things could still happen for the first time."

movie poster


Genre: Coming-of-Age, Teenage Fiction, Postmodernist
Rating: 4 tranquilizer blowguns

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