Home » Daumenlutscher by Walter Kirn
Daumenlutscher Walter Kirn

Daumenlutscher

Walter Kirn

Published
ISBN : 9783462029901
Paperback
315 pages
Enter the sum

 About the Book 

New York magazines witty, cheeky book critic Walter Kirn rides high in his exhilarating second novel, and so does his protagonist, Minnesota teen dweeb Justin Cobb. Justins hippie dentist may have hypnotized him out of his socially perilousMoreNew York magazines witty, cheeky book critic Walter Kirn rides high in his exhilarating second novel, and so does his protagonist, Minnesota teen dweeb Justin Cobb. Justins hippie dentist may have hypnotized him out of his socially perilous thumbsucking habit, but he cant suppress the boys oral gift. Justins mouth just wont quit: beer, decongestants, nitrous oxide, cough syrup, Midol, and Ritalin go in, and out spritzes hilarious commentary on his eccentric yet authentic life and times. Our heros mood larks and plunges erratically, but Kirns prose is alert, artful, under control. The debate coachs skin is the neutral hue of turkey meat. One of Justins realistically inconclusive crushes is a redhead with freckles the color of new pennies. Her dad is a Limbaughesque columnist who calls welfare recipients food tramps. Meanwhile, Justins dad, Mike, is the Führer of fly-fishing, an ex-gridiron hero obsessed with deer hunting (and eating). Hes also prone to spouting his vile old coachs preposterous apothegms (Until youre broken, you dont know what youre made of). Mike is funny and poignant--a tricky note to hit. Like a mucked-up modern Huck Finn plying his own stream of consciousness, Justin drifts into weird scenes: a job at a gas station fated for torching, a visit by his mad Winnebago vagabond grandparents, a kidnapping caper to rescue a pothead infant from sinister hick parents, Grit and Munch. Chapter 4, about a Chippewa City debate meet and rather chaste orgy, is dazzling teen satire. Not that Thumbsucker is flawless: Justins nurse mom is a vague character, his more vivid kid brother is inexplicably ignored, the satire of the Hazelden celeb rehab is lame, and, like Hucks, Justins adventures sort of peter out instead of leading up to a slam-bang finale. The familys conversion to Mormonism seems arbitrary, though richly detailed, since Kirn was a small-town Mormon kid.Flaws, schmaws. Thumbsucker is the truest book about adolescence Ive read since This Boys Life, and Kirn is some kind of comic genius. --Tim Appelo