LITTLE NEW YORK BASTARD

Philip M. Seib, Author . Four Walls Eight Windows $13.95 (198p) ISBN 978-1-56858-268-9

Angry, confused, malcontented young New Yorker, sick of all the hypocrisy and phoniness around him, decides to run away. Sound familiar? The twist: this Holden Caulfield is a real 22-year-old, a working-class product of Flushing, Queens. "I hate people" is how Raskin opens his book; he spends the rest of it getting into specifics, ranting about dirt bags, Nazis, degenerates, mindless drones, products of incest, Long Islanders, Ebonics speakers, cell phone gabbers and, worst of all, menu readers. Whenever this gets tiresome, Raskin invariably turns on a dime to reveal the hidden wounds that are causing his brain and (all-too-graphically) his bowels to "misfire": the recent deaths of his dog and his father. Raskin decides the cure is to "take his freedom" and go somewhere "inspiring." His choice is, absurdly enough, Chicago. A good portion of the book's entertainment value comes from anticipating how long it will take Raskin to discover, as he finally does, that he is "stuck in a city that seemed almost identical to New York, the place I'd run away from. It was all so sickening." Of course, this quixotic journey would never have been necessary if Raskin had just listened to his long-suffering, guilt-inducing mother, who reminds him "it's the singer, not the song." The same might be said of Raskin's memoir, which is the literary equivalent of karaoke. The song is Salinger's, but Raskin's rendition manages to partially compensate for what it lacks in sophistication and originality with an overabundance of attitude and passion. (Oct. 22)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-56858-318-1
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