Tramps Like Us: A New Jersey Tale

Kristen Buckley, Author Cyan Communications $24.95 (338p) ISBN 978-1-905736-23-2
From the screenwriter of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days comes an irreverent memoir of growing up in the Garden State?a choppy, whirlwind tour of her dysfunctional childhood in the New Jersey suburbs, from the divorce of her parents when she was six to her victorious exeunt at age 17, bound for the Manhattan School of Music. Without any semblance of structure, Buckley flits from memory to memory, capturing a haphazard array of family arguments, personal embarrassments and lopsided adventures. Using excessive profanity, she describes her adopted Korean sister's bout with smallpox, her childhood home's rat infestation and septic tank problem (earning her family the unending disdain of the entire neighborhood) and the late arrival of her adopted sibling's long-lost brother, Nak. She waxes nostalgic about her crush on Sting, her obsession with the mafia and her early experiments with underage drinking, driving and dating. With a caustic, ironic tone, she picks out New Jersey's least appealing qualities (mall rats, big hair and bad jeans) and unapologetically exploits them for laughs. Though the average reader may find this flippant, often ribald narrative hard to get through, similarly-affected Jerseyites will find much to like in Buckley's slice-of-life pileup.
Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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