I’ve been dreading writing this post. It’s embarrassing. I’d really like to be able to write a thorough, intelligent review of a book. Instead, I bring you this: the experience of Pop Kids.
Pop Kids is a book written by Davey Havok. Davey Havok is the lead singer of AFI and a member of the electro-pop band Blaqk Audio. He’s had a few acting gigs, most notably as American Idiot’s St. Jimmy in a brief stint on Broadway and a political intern/assistant type role in the very B movie Knife Fight with Rob Lowe. Around October, I became slightly obsessed with AFI after hearing their latest single, 17 Crimes, on the radio. The band has been around forever, since about 1991. They were a successful part of the hardcore movement in the mid-late 90s but didn’t gain much commercial success until their 2003 album, Sing the Sorrow (this album is the shit). They had a few bigger hits with their 2006 album, December Underground. There were a few others in between, but their latest album, Burials, was released this past October, off of which 17 Crimes was the first single. I’d listened to some of AFI’s music in the past, but 17 Crimes killed me and I had to start listening to everything again. So I spent a couple of months reliving the angst of my youth. I blasted hardcore from my Mini. I dyed my hair purple. I went to see AFI live in Baltimore. It. Was. Awesome. On stage, Davey Havok is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in real life. He is insane. He is gorgeous. His voice is nuts. He walks on the crowd. He does karate kicks in mid-air. His hair defies gravity THE WHOLE TIME. I don’t know how the man does it. He is a rock god. He doesn’t even talk during the show. He just comes out, picks up the mic, and starts singing like, “I am the shit of everything.” It’s amazing. I left that show with a JBF grin on my face that lasted for about a week.
But I digress. Davey Havok is apparently also a “writer.” In my stupor to read everything I could find about him and the band, I came across Pop Kids, which is Davey’s first attempt at a novel. I was in such a state after listening to his lyrics and being in awe of his physical presence that I of course had to read this book ASAP.
*SPOILER ALERT* This book is not good.
I’m not sure there is much else to actually say. It is 313 pages. It took me 2 months to read. I think the book is supposed to be something of a commentary on how current pop culture (music, movies, social media) can impact kids in a negative way. That’s probably far-reaching and very generous. The storyline mostly follows a boy, Score (short for his nickname, Scorsese…of which Martin would surely be ashamed), who, approaching his 18th birthday and with dreams of fame, begins hosting private viewing parties of newly classic films (like The Breakfast Club and Jaws) that are projected on the wall on the inside of an abandoned building. Somehow these viewing parties turn into massive teenage orgies, scenes that are full of some of the most bizarre sex acts ever to be carried out by human beings, much less teenagers, and an array of colorful euphemisms. So maybe it’s a porn masquerading as a commentary. Or it’s just an actual porn. Or I’m too dense to get the true existential meaning of the text. Maybe it’s existential porn? Whatever the case may be, no one ever needs to read this book. I’ll spare you the gory details because they are all gross. And awkward. Aside from this gem: Score repeatedly refers to his penis as his Producer (that’s with a capital P). No.
Besides the fact that there isn’t much of a plot, the characters are horrendous. Score is a self-obsessed pyro who spends the entire book trying to de-virginize his high school musical co-star while constantly obsessing over how massive and perfect his girlfriend’s “boobs” are (2 different girls, btw…and who uses the word “boobs” anymore???). Said virgin ends up being a lying slut by the end. Or at least I think that’s what happens. I’m not sure exactly what happens with her (or the rest of this book, for that matter), other than her green eyes suddenly turn brown (from deceit? drugs? contacts?) once Score realizes he didn’t really want her after all. And the girlfriend is some Hello Kitty-obsessed (there’s a lot of obsession in this post) nympho-druggie- model who ends up cutting off all of her Selena Gomez brown hair and dying it bleach-blonde for a new reality show part she landed after disappearing for a week following an abortion.
I’m not making this up. And there is so much more that I just can’t.
(At this point, it’s hardly worth mentioning the unbelievable number of grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book that literally made me want to vomit.)
So, yea. Pop Kids was a bust. I think I’ll stick with AFI from now on. My dear Davey would probably benefit from doing the same.