Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Lost in the '90s

Lost in the '90s
Lost in the '90s by Frank Anthony Polito

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this is the story all about how
Kurt's life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how Kurt became proud
of his town called Hazel Park.

Ok, so it doesn't EXACTLY rhyme along with the Fresh Prince theme song, but hey I gave it a shot.

No lie, Kurt's life does get flipped upside down when he takes an adrenaline filled stage dive during Hillbilly High's "Lost in the '90s" dance. Soon after he meets two teens from different walks of life. But unknown to all involved this pair of teens will be the most important people in Kurt's life. They might even help him find his way and tackle a very important problem in his future.

Polito weaves an entertaining and nostalgic (to those of us lucky enough to experience the '90s in their full glory) tale of love. Not just romantic love, but love of friends and the importance of family. The tale brings back memories of just how much our society has changed yet remained true to our roots in these past 20 years. Lost in the '90s poses the question, if we could step back in time and experience the world as our parents saw it, how would it change our feelings about the world at current.

Lost in the '90s is full of trivia and nods to all the things that made the '90s so great. The fashion, the music, the language. All of these things explode in this treasure of a novel. No cell phones, no Internet, and music was just then available on Compact Disc. As the story is narrated through three distinct voices, we see that not everything is so cut and dry when it comes to our future. Sometimes we have to make tough choices before we believe we are ready. And these decisions will shape who we are as a whole.

It touches on the subjects of sexuality, abortion, and family interactions. How important is realizing your dreams when your actions have created a new life? Would you be willing to compromise those dreams in order to fulfill your obligations. Kurt grows as a character as he struggles through the decisions his parents made during the pre-Millennium. He learns that parents were once kids, just like us, and they made mistakes.

I found myself nodding and smiling as I ran across each reference to '90s pop culture. I almost lost my head when Spuds MacKenzie was mentioned. Being that I was only 9/10 during '94 I wasn't a Bud Light fan, but there is a long story as to why this invoked a deep feeling of nostalgia. I remember my mother, and sometimes myself, wearing the fashion listed. Shoot, I wore flannel even in high school.....lets just say I was always a bit.....behind. LOL. I still find myself exclaiming "Awesome" and "Dude" whenever I get excited. Cobain will always be a legend to me.

What does make me sad is that I grew up in the South, and the references to Hazel Park, Michigan leave me a little lost. But from as much detail as Polito puts into the book, I am sure it would be just as good as a GPS when traveling around HP. It makes me wish I knew the "friendly city" back then.

I think readers will find this book hilarious, informative, and touching. I know I did. I regret nothing after reading this gem. Polito does a masterful job of weaving together the information needed to fully understand the enigma that is the '90s and the voice of a generation now shaping our future. And most importantly he warns us of the dangers of Benadryl. *snickers* Throughout the first 3/4ths of the book I found myself highlighting the '90s references, writing little comments I WISH I could say to the characters, and keeping up with where the story was going. By the last quarter, I was so invested in the story that I could only highlight every little bit then dive right back into the action. It was good. It was thrilling. I left me feeling like I was a kid again.

Don't miss your chance to experience the '90s with Kurt.

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