ANGEL DUST BLUES by Todd Strasser
Kirkus Star


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Not since Dinkey Hocker Shoots Smack has so unlikely a title been attached to so genuine an experience. But there's a difference--several years' difference. Alex Lazar does buy and sell some angel dust, though mainly he's into dealing pot. (There's a funny, dead-center description of his one experience with dusted joints.) The novel's outline seems as unpromising as the title: Alex, 17, is the overprivileged offspring of busy absentee parents who, as he puts it, want a ""low maintenance"" child and react to problems by shipping him off to a shrink to be fixed up like a broken toaster. A hopelessly self-destructive, no-good companion lures him into the dope scene, later rats on Alex and gets him busted, and himself winds up, multihabituated (as the lawyer puts it), in a possibly fatal coma. And Alex, shaken by the bust and in love (and, at last, in bed) with a reasonably straight rich girl, pulls out of his senior-year funk and applies to college. Alex's sardonic views of his parents, his principal, and adult society at large are also pretty similar to those of other rebellious teens, real and fictitious; but they are expressed with a lot more bite and verve and intelligence. Alex is a mixed-up teenager who is also a wry, refreshing, full-blooded character; and Strasser writes like he knows the scene--from the Brooklyn Rastis to the suburban high school john to family life (or its absence) in upper-income Upper Deepbrook. No trumped-up YA object lesson, this is a real novel with the strength and the sense of real life of a Hard Feelings or an Ordinary People.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1979
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan