GOING TO THE DOGS by Russell McRae


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A tiresome grab bag of clichÉs stapled to a tale of small-town adolescent rebellion. Billy's a good kid. He's got it all: brains, looks, a set of wheels. He's doing well at school, and Mr. Cartwright the basketball coach has a spot saved for him right out there on center court. But darn it, this kid's no fool, he can see through their game, he isn't going to conform. Alienated by screwy parents, fed up with the local school, and just about up to here with all those police snooping around in small-town, no-future Nugget, Billy and his pals escape into a thick haze of, you guessed it, Drugs. In fact, life in Nugget is so intolerable that Billy's sister, in compliance with what the media tells us is a growing teen-age tragedy, commits Suicide. And when his girlfriend gets Pregnant, and his best friend enters the dope trade, well, we can almost see the author busily ticking off a list of contemporary juvenile Social Problems towards that ill-fated moment that we've all been waiting for when Billy takes the plunge and Drops Out of School before exploding in an Oedipal frenzy all over the living-room floor. McRae is capable of fresh, tart prose when he wants, but his style frequently lapses into summary (""Drugs had become a potent and enduring symbol of the age into which Bill Mackenzie had been born. . .""), and though he has a good handle on the contortions to which bright students can go to work havoc on a school system, the story is overall too familiar, and even the main character lacks sharp definition. Routine, very routine.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Viking