San Francisco hipster-girl Tea pens a novel of teenage angst.
Fourteen-year-old Trisha is a self-described loner, though that may be putting a positive spin on friendlessness. Her life in small-town Massachusetts is bleak: Trisha’s mother is a shut-in, having spent the best chunk of Trisha’s life lying on the couch, watching TV, fretting over imaginary illnesses. Her older sister Kristy has just finished cosmetology training at the vocational high school and is taping their home life so she can get on MTV’s The Real World (Trisha’s offended that she’s being portrayed as an alcoholic—what’s a few empty beer bottles by the bed?). Then there’s Ma’s boyfriend Donnie, a petty crook whose only redeeming quality is that he doesn’t molest the girls. The novel follows one crazy day in Trisha’s (up until now muted) life, beginning with a new job at the mall and ending with a tattooed portrait of her lesbian lover. With a bit of clever lying and borrowed clothes, Kristy finagles Trisha a job at clothing store Ohmigod!, filling in for teen queen Kim as she recovers from a suicide attempt. Trisha doesn’t quite fit in and is fired by the end of the day. But no matter, she’s befriended by Rose, a tough-talking, chain-smoking, shoplifting sprite of a girl who takes Trisha out for the night of her life. They hitchhike to Revere Beach where they score crystal meth from a pedophile dealer (the transaction requires a nude Polaroid of Rose as collateral against snitching), and as the two snort their way back home, they make out by the dinosaur at a miniature golf course, fish for change in the fountain at a Chinese restaurant and stop off at a tattoo parlor where Trisha commemorates the night with a tattoo of Rose on her arm. A big night for a 14-year-old. Although Trisha’s initial musings on life are tediously mundane, as soon as Rose enters the picture, the novel takes off in a blur of speedy bliss.
The novel shines with a kind of beatnik deference to drugs and lust and dangerous youth.