Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pop Salvation-Lance Reynald

Pop Salvation
Lance Reynald
Harper, Jun 23 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061672972

Seventh grader Caleb Watson has always felt different than his family or his schoolmates at the exclusive private academies he has attended. He has never been quite able to understand why he feels this way or explain it to anyone including himslef; he just does.

That changes on a field trip to the Hirshhorn Museum where he sees Andy Warhol's homage to Marilyn Monroe's Lips. Caleb begins to worship the pop icon who as the lad learns was born a sickly effeminate Czech in Pittsburgh but died a legend. He changes his look so that he appears as close to Warhol as possible and begins making strange movies like his hero did. Caleb soon has groupies that include his gay partner Aaron; his Sedgwick in Sonia, and his Monroe in runaway male Rocky Horror fan Brit. They test the Warhol existence to the limit and beyond as “turn on, tune in, and drop out”; which means acid, cross dressing, suicide and fetishes.

This is an interesting look at teen outcasts in Regan Era Georgetown. The fully developed, alienated in different ways, characters drive the story line as each of the Warhol-Rocky quartet seek a reason to belong and think by emulating the late artist or the movie they are achieving this. Although the plot reads less like a novel and more like a biography, fans will enjoy the desperate antics of Caleb and crew as they turn to the world of Pop for salvation.

Harriet Klausner

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