Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
Coming of Age?
This book is a look at the 1980’s in New York’s East Village from the perspective of a close-knit group of teens - a portrait of modern age and the struggles that unite or divide generations. Moving back and forth between Vermont and New York City, Ten Thousand Saints is a story of a frazzled bunch of family members that were brought together by Teddy’s sudden death due to an overdose, then carried along in anticipation of the birth of his child. AIDS, homelessness, gentrification, parenthood, adoption, and drug use are among the many topics covered in the book.
Rather lengthy and repetitive at times, this book took patience on my part to get through it. The hardcore punk rock music venues and the physical violence between some of these musicians got a little tedious. The author could have been pared it down and still sustained the story. The characters in this book have been compared to those in a Wally Lamb book – alive, familiar and all too human. Even though the dialogue was well done, in my opinion these characters were not that likable. I pitied them, but it was hard to really like them. In other words, I probably never will remember their names after the “read” is done like I do that of Scout from “How to Kill a Mockingbird.” Highly publicized by other reviewers as a coming-of-age novel; there are much better choices.
Gina G. (Portland, OR)
I highly anticipated this novel but once I started it I was disappointed as it is mediocre at best.
Brenda S. (Grand Rapids, MN)
It's Not Worth the Read
This book did not get interesting until about page 80, then it slowly built to a mesa; one of a few books I wouldn't pass on to another person I liked. The gist of the story was not something to build over 300 pages; it wasn't good enough for 150 pages. The writing was boring and I found myself scanning the text until another interesting occurrence appeared. It was a struggle to get through the book and I'm not happy that I made the effort.
Kathy G. (Alamo, CA)
Ten Thousand Saints
As I left a late night play in San Francisco, I saw tattooed teenagers on skateboards just "hanging", smoking and doing whatever they do very late at night . Johnny and Jude came to mind. I shook my head with dismay as apparently life has not become much better with the current generation.
I had a hard time with the book. As I turned each page, I had hoped to find redemption but the characters all remained dysfunctional. The parents had no parenting skills at all.
On a positive note, the author will give the reader an insight into the lives of dysfunctional families in the eighties.. The characters were well developed as well.
Hard to relate to. However I do need to point out that I am in my mid-sixties!
Kelly H. (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Searching Hard for Redeeming Values
"Ten Thousand Saints" centers around a group of down-on-their-luck teenagers and their dysfunctional extended families. Each of the characters, and indeed the entire book, lacks a sense of purpose. The adults in the story act primarily as grown-up teenagers and seem to be missing even the most basic parental instincts. Rather than provide their teens with appropriate guidance (followed up with appropriate discipline), the adults show little regard for providing familial structure.
Perhaps I was searching too hard for redemption in the story. The characters remain largely one-dimensional and unchanging at their core. As dysfunctional as the teenagers grow up in the story, there is little indication the cycle will be broken for the next generation.
Patricia K. (Oak Park, California)
Ten Thousand Saints
I forced myself to finish this book. The characters all seemed flat--they seem to pass through life on destructive paths and never really moved beyond their dreary existence. Everyone seemed to exist on drugs and violence with no redemption anywhere in the book.
Phoenix M. (Eclectic, AL)
Ten Thousands Saints
I raised my children during the '80s and I don't remember the world around us being so dysfuncional. I could not finish the book. Perhaps a younger readership would enjoy it more.