Sunday, June 09, 2013

New Books, Old Friends

A couple of months ago I told you all about one of my oldest friends, JD Chandler, publishing his book, Murder & Mayhem in Portland, Oregon. Well, now another old friend, Rich Samuels, has gone and put out a new book of his own, My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain.

I'll be honest with you, Food Chain is not a book I would have picked up if it were not from an old friend. It is aimed at the "Young Adult" market, meaning teenaged kids, and it's been quite a long time since I fit that demographic. Still, I promised Rich I'd read it, so I did, and I loved it. But this is not the book review. My official review is over at Goodreads.

No, this is my blog, so it's for personal reflections. And reading a book about awkward teenaged boys written by somebody you knew years ago when you were each awkward teenage boys can stir up some memories.

Not that any of us needed to be quite so paranoid of bullies as Alexander is (the kid in the book), but still, there were some quite relatable scenes.

At one point in the book, Alexander and his friends meet at a favorite place to share massive orders of French fries. It brought back when Rich, JD, Crazy Tom, and I were taking a Super-8 film production class at the nearby University one night per week while we were still in High School. Following the class, we'd always stop at In-n-Out Burger and split a couple of orders of fries while discussing what we'd learned, and what we'd film that coming weekend.

When JD, Crazy Tom, and I started the class, and the fries tradition, we'd each take turns buying the fries. Once Rich joined the group, it seemed like it was always his turn to pay (I blame Crazy Tom for coming up with this idea). Rich never complained. A year or two ago, I finally confessed my pent-up guilt over this French fry scam to Rich. He claimed to have never noticed.

Reading Rich's book, many scenes like this came back in view. I wish somebody would have given me a book like this when I was an awkward teenager going to Junior High in a new town, trying to make some friends while navigating around the dangers. Maybe I would have learned something, been a little more comfortable within myself, and had a better time of things. Instead of just trying to scam free French fries off of nice guys like Rich.

Anyway, you can read my review of My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain at Goodreads, or just head over to Amazon and order the darn thing already.

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