Rich Boy Cries for Momma
Ethan H. Minsker
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Rich Boy Cries for Momma is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel by Ethan H. Minsker, an American writer and filmmaker. It is set in Washington, DC during the turbulent 1970s and '80s, when the city and the nation, led by ruthless and amoral men, were riddled with strife, class struggles and scandal. The story is told by an unnamed teenage narrator, the dyslexic son of two successful lawyers. Taunted, bullied and rejected by the "nice" children of the Washington elite, he is looking for a world that accepts him as he is. Outcasts, the teenager and his friends create their own world, without adults, that centers around punk rock music. In this underground subculture, with its own codes and hierarchy, it is survival of the fittest.
Minsker has arranged Rich Boy Cries for Momma chronologically, basing it on the life and experiences of the narrator as he journeys from adolescence into adulthood. The story follows the narrator as he ages from 11 to 20 years, his growth and education influenced by the events of his time and his perception of those events. Minsker has applied the literary technique of Bildungsroman in the telling this story of the moral and psychological growth of the unnamed teenager. Through the teenage narrator's life experiences, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of a moral and social order are all examined, as the teen speculates upon his own personal beliefs and his place in the universe. Minsker uses a smooth linear narrative structure and a conversational writing style, with vivid characters, making the novel fast-paced and highly readable. Minsker's book captures and colorfully describes the people and places of a by-gone era of America. A biting, witty sense of humor entwines and overlays the serious, often tragic, events that unfold in the book.
Minsker, who was diagnosed at an early age as being both highly dyslexic and highly intelligent, wrote the novel over a ten-year period. It has been edited, multiple times, by a team of professional volunteer writers drawn from the Antagonist Movement, a consortium of artists, writers and performers. The book features original art by Ted Riederer, a New York-based artist, who grew up in the Washington DC hard-core punk rock scene alongside author Minsker. Riedererís simple ink and paper drawings capture the essence of DC in the 1970s and '80s from the perspective of someone who was part of the scene. The book also contains the lyrics of more than two dozen songs written and performed by the hard-core punk rock bands of that time.
Minsker's writing style makes it easy to follow along on his tale of a kid growing up amidst the D.C. punk scene. You get to read about (and feel like you were there in) the punk rock music scene that broke open in Washington D.C. in the 80s. It's great to get an insider's story about such a fun, unique ruckus world...but one that's not about the sex, drugs, violence, etc. This actually has heart. You learn about the kid's bout with dyslexia, his relationship with his parents (who are much more well-off than most punk rocker's families), and interpersonal relationships of the other kids growing up in the same time, in the same town, dealing with their own stack of problems.
Can't put it down!!
I'm half way through this book and can't put it down! I am really impressed with the writing and story telling... and genuinely laughed out loud at times and cringed at others (like the story of Anastasia getting in the horse accident... weak stomach here ;)) I'm now into the main character’s teen years (after boarding school) and seriously can't put it down... it's a really awesome book.
Were you a struggling outsider as a child? Then READ this book.
This is a very revealing look at a world that I have always been interested in, an extremely relatable childhood, entertaining at times and emotional at others. It had a real impact on me.
This is a great story for people who never had a choice about being different and who struggle to find their place in this world. It is also an excellent cautionary tale for those of us who desperately want to be a part of something, and the paths you can go down if you are not careful. I am really looking forward to Minsker’s next book.