Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beige by Cecil Castellucci

Cecil Castellucci has written a punk rock fairy tale for nice girls. Katy is a nice girl; well mannered and thoughtful. When her single mom goes to Peru on an archaeological dig, she is sent to stay with her estranged father in Los Angeles. Her father, a punk rock legend who goes by the name "the Rat", is planning his band's big comeback. How Katy overcomes her self-consciousness, looks past her prejudices and comes to terms with her new surroundings makes for an enjoyable and insightful book.

Katy has a realistic voice and is surrounded by interesting secondary characters who flesh out the slightly idealized Los Angeles she inhabits. There is a strong theme of how drug addiction affects families. It is not the kids who are dealing with drugs, but rather with the aftermath of their parent's addiction.

Castellucci writes as if she assumes that readers are familiar with the music that she mentions - some of which is more seminal than current. It is a nice touch that keeps the book from seeming dated as current music changes but the classics remain. She also names each chapter for a different song so that it is easy for readers to make a playlist that compliments the book.

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