One day, Edsel Relic, high school outcast turned performance poet, gets a phone call from his unrequited high school sweetheart. asking if he will attend the upcoming 25th reunion. This sets Edsel off on a freewheeling remembrance of his life up to that point.
He was picked on in high school by the jocks because of stuttering (later diagnosed as Tourette's Syndrome). After graduation, he went to New York City to become the Next Great Hipster Poet (this was during the time of the Beat Generation). When that didn't work, he was forced to return home to his parent's house, and enroll in a local college. Edsel's coming-of-age was fueled with pot, and a soundtrack by people like John Coltrane.
Frazer writes this story as a very worthy written equivalent of improvisational jazz. He switches points of view from Edsel, to his friends, to the jocks who picked on him, to the local hipsters, and back again. He also changes the story from prose to TV scripts, to stream-of-consciousness ranting and includes a special guest appearance by Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America.
I really enjoyed this novel. It's a very good story for those of us whose high school memories are less than happy. It also belongs right up there with the best of people like Jack Kerouac. The Beat Generation is not dead!
Paul Lappen, DEAD TREES REVIEW.