A Masque of Infamy is a horrific and raucous story of teenage rebellion. But instead of "What d'ya got?" fifteen-year-old Louis Baudrey knows exactly what he's fighting against…After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and this guy Rick, a friend of the family, Louis tries to fit in at the local high school, but the Bible-thumpers and the rednecks don't take too kindly to his outlandish wardrobe and burgeoning punk attitude. At home, he defies the sadistic intentions of Rick, who rules the household with an iron fist. As Louis begins to lose all hope, he stumbles upon indisputable proof that will free him and his brother from Rick's tyranny. But just when he thinks his troubles are over, he's locked up in the adolescent ward of a mental hospital, where he must fight the red tape of the system to realize his dream of being a punk rocker.
Kelly Dessaint was born and raised in Los Angeles. At fifteen, he moved to Alabama, where he ended up in state custody, an experience documented in his autobiographical novel A Masque of Infamy. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he lived and traveled across the country, working odd jobs and gathering material for the stories he has published under various pseudonyms in small press magazines and his zines, Vagabond Review and Piltdownlad. In 1998, he founded the publishing company Phony Lid Books, which released titles by numerous prominent small press authors. He lives in LA with his wife and three cats.
What did I think of the book?
First of all, let me just say this is an amazing book if it were a piece of fiction, but knowing that it's an autobiographical novel, makes it that much more awesome! The book is a bout a young boy who moves to the south. Kelly's life is anything but boring, the coming of age story will have you hooked by page one. The dialogue between characters seems casual and out of the ordinary to most. I could hear the voices and imagine them all so clearly in my mind, I felt I knew them myself.
Louis seems like a guy I would want to get to know better, and it was a pleasure to do so after reading this book. He seems like the punk rocker kids I used to have as friends. He's charismatic and really quite a smart ass, which made me laugh out loud at many different parts of the book. That in itself makes for a great book. No matter the situation, he always seems to make things work out in his best interest.
I too am from Southern California, and moved to the south recently, so I enjoyed taking the trip with Louis from Los Angeles to Alabama. The colorful language reminds me of my own family and friends so the dialogue reminded me of some of my own memories.
When it comes to situations that may be difficult for some to write, or even read, he does not play the victim card, he simply tells it how it is, and how he escaped it all. I enjoyed being taken through every emotion and situation that Louis went through, and could relate a great portion of his life to my own.
I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this book, it was a such a quick read too because I just couldn't put it down. I know once you pick this book up, you won't want to put it down either. Just because it's a coming of age story, doesn't mean it's a juvenile book, I would say everyone of all ages can relate and be entertained by the end of this book. It deserves a 5/5 rating.
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