“I was told that it was a gift, that many of the most brilliant, famous, and powerful had some form of dyslexia. But I also heard that ninety percent of the prison population had it too. I wasn’t sure where I would fall in.” Ethan Minsker’s novel begins this way. Bold, brash, and unapologetic. Constantly questioning where to draw the line between what is the truth and what is an exaggerated lie.
It makes sense really. Rich Boy Cries For Momma is a coming of age novel largely based on the life and times of the author, Ethan Minsker, who grew up in the turbulent Washington D.C. punk scene in the 1980’s. While it is a work of fiction, the characters are drawn from real people Minsker grew up with in his neighborhood and in the schools he struggled through. The author truly has dyslexia, making the book that much more fascinating to read.
There is so much to love about this novel. It wanes on innocence versus opposition, reminding readers of when they were young and first getting into the punk rock scene. The characters are absolutely hysterical, and Minsker does a perfect job of bringing them to life with every turn of the page. He also makes it very clear that D.C. at this time was not for the faint of heart. Without giving away too much, the author finds himself in the middle of a murder.
One character in particular, Ronnie “Motherfucking” Collins, is one of the funniest and most enlightening characters in the novel. He tends to speak the most words of wisdom saying, “Don’t become a fuck up like me, motherfucker. I should have taken the scholarship at Saint John’s, but instead I got too deep into the motherfucking scene and drugs. I was a motherfucking child prodigy.”
Each chapter references lyrics from classic punk songs that Minsker felt summarized his youth and the pages are filled with the art of Ted Riederer, who grew up with Minsker in the same neighborhood. There were points reading this novel where I was booming with laughter all alone in my house. There were also points where I could feel my heart breaking in two.
Rich Boy Cries For Momma beckons you to join Minsker on this crazy and unforgettable adventure, but cautions you to keep your distance and watch from the sidelines. It’s absolutely a fun read.