Rebel Without a Clue

Holly Uyemoto, Author Crown Publishers $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-57170-5
Set in affluent Marin County, this ultramodern coming-of-age novel by 19-year-old Uyemoto borrows heavily from Less Than Zero for its vision of privileged adolescent angst in an age of sex, drugs and overwhelming ennui. Christian Delon is drifting into the summer between high school and college, trying to connect with his sulky, detached girlfriend, when his best friend Thomas Bainbridge, who at age 18 is a gloriously bored super-model/movie star, drops the news that he's contracted AIDS. Each chapter of this derivative novel leads off with a gushing media tribute to Thomas's incredible talents (a Village Voice article, a Barbara Walters TV interview, etc.) or a bon mot from the shallow young man himself. Then narrator Christian recalls the uncomfortable revelations of a visit to Thomas in New York the previous year (``more happened than just that surfacy stuff'') and muses about two other friends, one now dead, the other a basket case. Uyemoto has an eye for colorful detail and cultural ironies, yet despite the pathos of Thomas's plight, neither the characters nor the events in her debut novel are engaging enough to evoke much interest or emotion. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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