Monday, March 1, 2010

Good Times/Bad Times

I'm currently reading Riding James Kirkwood's Pony, a biography of one of my favorite authors. I read his novel Good Times/Bad Times when I was 18 and it felt like someone had peeped inside my head and stolen my soul. I had just graduated from the crazy Christian nightmare world of private school, and this novel, about a boy away at prep school, was so on target with not only that world but the one inside that I almost felt violated. How dare someone put in print the things I was feeling but could not speak!

My mother found and read the book and immediately declared it 'filth', probably because the religious headmaster in the story is revealed for what he is instead of being seen as the mouthpiece of God, which in my world the people who were teaching me were supposed to be; at least they'd better be for the tuition my folks were paying. The book completely zeroed in on religous people's penchant for turning the most innocent of situations into fuel for their outraged need for drama. But it also focused on EVERYONE'S need for a best friend.

Kirkwood wrote a number of novels, including P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, another good one, but Good Times/Bad Times remains my favorite. I read it every couple of years or so and it always takes me back. Always. As an adult, I realize the prose is not nearly as genius as I thought it was at 18, but the story and the mindset is outstanding. I hope this thing never goes out of print.

If you want to read it, you can order it insanely cheap from Amazon here.

No comments:

Post a Comment