Three Squirt Dog

Rick Ridgway, Author
Rick Ridgway, Author St. Martin's Press $12.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-312-11079-6
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Proudly compared to Beavis and Butt-head by the publisher, this first novel lives up to the reference in most ways but ultimately falls short even of this standard. Bud, the first-person narrator and protagonist--ingeniously named for a beer and a generic male--moseys through a plot-anemic world of scatological humor (he and his buddies have fart contests), cliched sex with cynical girlfriend Jane (`` `I'm glad it was you that showed up and not the UPS guy,' '' she quips), junky pop culture (the Sex Pistols, Van Halen), booze (Mad Dog, Wild Turkey) and secularism (``I might find religion yet--some rogue pro-fucking, pro-rock 'n' roll, pro-drunkenness sect''). Unlike the creators of Beavis and Butt-head , however, Ridgway throws in superficial references to all the sophisticated books he's read (Bernard Malamud and Nietzsche), cranks out an excess of I'm-so-cool pop culture references (I.R.S. Records, Alex Chilton) and hauls in the usual campy, fetishized '70s rock and punk music. The publisher's intended readership, who will be annoyed by the show-offy literary references, may not be that of Ridgway, who seems to have a conception of himself as a postmodern Henry Miller. Whoever chances on this unfortunate book, however, will prefer the greater complexities of TV. (June)
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