We called them theatre geeks at my high school. You remember - kids who dyed their hair pink and orange (I'm talking about the early 1980's - before everyone dyed their hair pink and orange), kids who wore vintage clothing - really vintage clothing - like 19th century. The play people liked the spotlight. What's more, they actually liked literature, liked poetry, sang out loud in front of people for no reason whatsoever. They knew about books and movies that I had never heard of. They reveled in the artistic culture, while the rest of us spent our hours supporting the beer industry.
Edward's father, Al Zanni, is the chief financial officer of a storage disposal facility, and, thus far, has made it unnecessary for Edward to find gainful employment during his high school years. And, despite his mother's propensity for divorce and disappearance to parts South American for purposes of new-age self-discovery, she's at least left MoM (Mom's old Mercedes) for Edward to drive in her absence.
Too easy, in fact. Where's the tension? Where's the seemingly insurmountable obstacle?
Enter Dagmar, Al Zanni's middle-aged, Austrian, ice-witch of a mid-life crisis girlfriend cometh straight from H-E-double-hockey-sticks to make Edward's life miserable. Dagmar assumes control of Edward's dad and his money. That's when the bomb hits. Al's decided not to ante up the $10,000 annual tuition for Edward to attend Julliard next year.
Ok - it's no white whale, but in this whacky, Scooby-Doo type hi-jinx of a coming-of-age gay in New Jersey romp through the miasma that is adolescence novel, it'll have to do.
Whose adolescence is this anyway? Not mine. Edward and his charicaturesque theatre buddies are getting a hell of a lot more action than I ever did, but then I was never really at the front lines when it came to adolescent sexual discovery. These kids, however, are hopping in and out of bed with the agility usually reserved for the porn stars of the era. Ah well - it is the early 1980's and pre-AIDS. Let the kids have some fun!
Marc Acito is funny. The PR info on this book says he is hailed as the "gay Dave Barry" for his syndicated humor column,"The Gospel according to Marc," and I believe it. What's more, it states that Acito was himself "kicked out of one of the finest drama schools in the country." So, what percentage of How I Paid For College is true-to-life memoir of Marc Acito's teen years? I don't know, and I don't want to. It is enough that Acito makes an effortless transition from humor columnist to humor novelist and, in so doing, delivers on this fun-filled and farcical teen romp.