Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Shampoo Horns

Read 8/21/12 - 8/22/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to readers who remember what it REALLY was like to be a pre-teen kid
Pgs: 55
Publisher: Rose Metal Press

Show me a kid who never disobeyed their parents and I'll show you a liar. Sneaking out the bedroom window, or sneaking someone in in the middle of the night, hopping up on the roof of the house to steal a few puffs on a cigarette, breaking into old abandoned trailer homes and filling them with all the things you "lifted" from your neighbors or strangers... Any of this stuff sound familiar? I'm willing to bet that if you look deep enough and think back hard enough, you have a few good stories to share with us, don't you?

Aaron Teel, through a well balanced mix of fact and fiction, hits us over the head with the reality of coming of age in a Texas trailer park community with his award winning chapbook Shampoo Horns. We are introduced to Cherry Tree, an easily influenced twelve year old boy who would prefer nothing more than spending the entire day running around in his home-made superhero costume - red skivvies and a towel tied around his neck. He kills time reading comics with best friend Tater Tot and keeps his nose relatively clean. That is, until his troubled, older half-brother moves in and knocks Cherry's boyish little world straight down onto its ass.

Shampoo Horns is cleverly fierce, unexpectedly sweet, and for one horrifying moment, utterly disgusting (there's a nipple clipping, people! Someone loses a fucking NIPPLE!). It's got the rough-and-tumble bloody and bruised innocent bordeom of the prepubescent with the added confusion of sex and girls and the threatening maturity that comes along with it all.

Reading these interconnected flash fiction stories reminded me of my own good girl - bad girl struggles growing up. Hanging out under the piers in Florida with my dope-smoking friends, cracking open coconuts watching the sunset; sneaking out of the house after my father went to bed to hang out under the bridges with friends, or sneaking the boys in; and yes, a group of friends and I laid claim to an abandoned trailer that still had some furniture and running water, though sadly, the electricity had been cut by then. It's amazing what boredom and a whole lot of freedom will lead you to do!

Grab yourself a copy if you're in the mood to (1) jump into the way-back machine on a journey down memory lane, (2) vicariously live the life you wish you had when you were that age, or (3) want to experience a powerful, emotional firestorm of teenage angst and curiosity. You won't regret it. And you can thank me later.

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