Please Don’t be Waiting for Me, by Todd Stadtman

 

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A darkened tale with a humorous side, Please Don’t Be Waiting for Me focuses on the Bay Area punk movement of the’80s. A tale of more than just music and fighting the system. And spikes. And mohawks—in fact, all those things just make it all that more difficult to bring your friends’ murderer to justice. Especially when the media is portraying your kind as the bad guy. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

 

I liked the more accurate-feeling punk representation. Everything from style to music to attitude. It was done well and managed to highlight an important shift in cultural norms. Things like privilege and race and gender were all brought up with some level of self-awareness, both from the narrator and the characters.

 

This book wasn’t dialogue heavy. Character dialogue was meaningful, true to the characters, and had versatile tone to it. Interactions didn’t feel awkward at all. There was some lack of description that that made picturing certain landscapes difficult if it wasn’t a place that you were familiar with. A bit of editing was needed, though the plot itself and the characters were solid. The underlying storylines between the characters connected well and made the story flow right along. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the author included healthy father-son relationship into the mix, instead of all the characters having some kind of tragic backstory or relationship with their parents. Scott’s dad was easily my favorite character, and a shining example of how more parents need to be.

 

It’s easy to draw parallels between fear-mongering of the 80s and its detrimental effects with today’s world. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek narrative and storytelling. Well done.

 

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Anarchy: Strange Tales of Outsiders

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I will give this book praise for having the single-most accurate and descriptive title I’ve seen in a while. Tales of outcasts indeed; this book gets weird.

 

A collection of short stories and poems from days past, Anarchy presents some very off-the-wall storytelling that mainly features a cast of LGTB+ characters—which is awesome, by the way. I don’t think I can express that enough. The author touches on taboo subjects, but they fit well within both the theme and story. Punk, in fact, is the overarching theme of the book, and I will say that this novel delivers an actual punk experience.

 

There’s a lot of good story elements contained within. There’s also quite a few editing and polishing opportunities to be had, as well. The author has a unique take on horror, and I would love to see more edited versions of all the tales, really. There are places where storylines could be clearer, description a little more active, and some more depth added to the characters so the reader has a stronger connection with them during their strife.

 

I love weird, off-the-wall tales. I love it when stories push the limits—sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but the point is that an effort was made towards individuality. The literary world is so saturated with the same formula over and over again. It gets boring. That being said, there’s still some work to be done on this one. I think there’s a fair amount of potential.

 

Buy it here!