Having just finished a female coming-of-age novel set in the early 1930’s, it’s only appropriate that I read a male coming-of-age novel set in the early 1990’s. Hairstyles of the Dammed has a totally different soundtrack, but many of the themes—identity, rebellion, and sexuality are present—just in a slightly different mix.
This novel focuses on a year in the life of Brian, who lives on the South Side of Chicago, goes to an all-boys Catholic school, and is love with his best friend, Gretchen, a punk rock girl with anger issues. There’s a lot of music, angst, sexual awkwardness, vandalism, drama, and some drug use in these bite-sized chapters but through them, we get the story of one boy’s search for who he wants to be and who he wants to be with.
For those who still have PTSD from high school (and don’t we all), this might stir up bad memories but that’s a testament to how “real” these characters feel in a time capsule from 1991. Read it and feel both relief and regret that you’re now an adult.