Foster Care: by Ann Raber, 222 pgs. By Greg

Sep 26, 2007

Coming-of-age novel about latchkey/juvi kids who like to play with fire. It’s set in the late ‘80s. One of ‘em finds salvation/damnation in foster care – and through the songs of Screeching Weasel. It paints a picture of adolescent life not unlike Matt Dillon’s cult film Over the Edge, only it’s a decade later (but the clothes and haircuts are just as bad). The writing is really good as author Ann Raber touches on some important themes (alienation, desperation) as well as dishing out a believable male protagonist, but the whole set up and delivery of the tome is disjointed as hell. It reads like a Robert Altman novel; it jumps from past to present in the blink of an eye, making it problematic to follow the story line at times. A good example of why writers need editors but nonetheless an excellent first attempt. Nobody should ever be faulted for writing a novel. Nobody. But you will get called out on the cheese. Yes, you will. I mean, when she writes about towns like Fuckfaceville and shopping at the C-mart, she only reminds me that I’m reading fiction. If you can get past the sappy first layer of clichés and peel back the skin on this onion of a novel, then you might enjoy it. It might bring tears to your eyes. And yes, punky, that last line was a double entendre. –Greg Barbera (Post-Traumatic Press, PO Box 408021, Chicago, IL 60640)