I wish I could tell a story this compelling about my growing up in the suburbs. Salzman exposes his extreme fanaticism with tales of kung fu practice in his parents’ basement, dying his pajamas black (turned out purple), buying a bald wig and burning lots o incense. After a year of trying to master kung fu and Zen on his own, he takes up lessons with a local Sensei (O’Keefe) who is a dash of nutso and a big swig of crazy. Tiring of lessons after the one where his friend Michael volunteers to be choked then restored, he attacks his cello in earnest. Flipping it sideways like a sitar, he starts a jazz band with Scott and refuses pot in the quest for purity. Eventually he succombs to the State of Whoa and becomes a burner. Tales of rebuilding engines, listening to his dad’s pessimistic view of the world, watching the stars with his dad, picking up the expensive telescope from the factory to save on shipping (all $$ went into the optics), getting a job in the mailroom of a lawyer office, studying Chinese, calligraphy, inventing his own curriculum in high school; getting accepted to Yale and deferring for a year, then tales of Yalehood. All in all, hard to put down, and has laugh out loud moments.
Recommended by Ellen
sub=Growing up absurd in suburbia