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 A gutsy, fresh, and fierce drug novel, something like walking over broken glass barefoot, by first-novelist and former addict Little. Most of the story, set during the late '60s and early '70s in the Midwest and California, has an autobiographical tang. Bobbie, the 14-year-old Irish hero, has been on the street since he was 11, and hasn't much hope of living to 20. As Bobbie matures into a copper-bottomed Huck Finn on heroin, pursuing a life of crime and bloodshed, one fears that the novel's big rainbow buzz will fade and Bobbie head for rehab. But since 12- step programs haven't yet been invented, all stays hopped up and oblivion-bound till the end. Before the drug takes charge of him, Bobbie is braced--even empowered--by the heroin. But after a year of this, no amount of the stuff can return him to well-being. The good days, he realizes, are gone forever, and the need to support his habit with various crimes, petty and big-time, only intensifies. And so little Bobbie takes up with a professional burglar named Mel, twice his age, who recruits him as a worthy sidekick for drug errands usually run around midnight. Bobbie, near the same time, falls in love with Rosie, a star-crossed 17- year-old, also a druggie. Little's strongest suit is to suggest Bobbie's masked fear of exposing his love and friendship for Rosie and Mel: A pro, after all, is supposed to show no feeling. Little keeps Bobbie's emotions capped but pulsating at every step of the way. Little, who runs an AIDS assistance organization in Los Angeles, writes like a bad dream on wheels, unique in the electric authenticity that he brings to every sentence. The stages of addiction have seldom been so vividly drawn. (Film rights to Miramax; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-670-87217-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997