Another episode of the fictionalized autobiography of ""Eddie-baby,"" by Russian Ã‰migrÃ‰ writer Liminov (His Butler's Story, It's Me, Eddie), that tries hard to shock but ends up being the story of your basic bright, sensitive boy who isn't quite cut out to be a monster of depravity, though he does try. Set in the Russia of the Khrushchev era, young Eddie-baby, now 15, tells on one level a typical adolscent tale of the young boy looking desperately for a first sexual experience. On another, this is the story of rebellion against a stifling and amoral society. Told in alternating episodes and flashbacks, it takes place over the two-day holiday celebrating the 41st anniversary of the Russian Revolution, an occasion for heavy drinking and partying--but almost no politics. But Eddie is in fact not your average adolescent--he is a member of a gang of punks who drink, steal, and rape. He is also extremely intelligent and a gifted poet. As he passes the holiday looking for the rubles he needs to take out his date, Eddie-baby recalls how he became a punk, his horror at finding what work his father actually did, and how he met his various friends. Eddie-baby Finally loses his virginity, wins a poetry contest, tries to rob a store, and seems destined to be a crook like his friends--except that his poems save him. A few years later his friends are arrested, and one executed, but by then Eddie has fled to Europe--he has escaped. Liminov skillfully shows how thin the line is between virtue and vice, and his descriptions of Soviet life do explain in part Eddie-baby and his friends. The trouble here, however, is that Eddie-baby is really a tiresome and self-obsessed young man whose behavior loses rather than gains our sympathy. More a whiner than a winner.