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Kinky Friedman: Blast from the Past

I read Blast from the Past, which was my first introduction to the wacky world of Kinky Friedman. Although the novel has a few dream sequences scattered throughout, Blast from the Past is a fairly straightforward work of auto-biographical fiction that leaves it to the reader to determine which parts are fiction and which parts are actual events.

 

The novel starts out with a cat staring at Kinky Friedman, which is enough to set the writer/singer/weirdo onto a strange tangent which takes him back to the 1970’s when he was couch surfing, pretending to be a PI,  and dating Judy who believed she was being stalked by her dead boyfriend and soul mate, Tim.

 

Although the entire novel takes place in the bars, lofts, and crappy apartments of New York City and there aren’t any road trips, it seems as if Kinky Friedman is striving for a beat-like-feel to his writing as he drops as many names of his more esteemed acquaintances as he can throughout the book. Of course, that doesn’t make Kinky Friedman Jack Kerouac or Alan Ginsberg, but that didn’t stop the old Kinkmeister from trying.

 

The plot of Blast from the Past gets a little confusing at times, which I believe is more due to the drugs Kinky Friedman was probably taking when he was writing the book than to much deep thought about plot structure and twists. The strength of Kinky Friedman’s writing lies more in the dialog. As some of the events in the book supposedly really happened, he may have just recorded the actual conversations when he wasn’t walking around in a drunken stupor.

 

That said, Blast from the Past did give me a kind of feeling of what life might have been like during the 1970’s in New York City. Granted, Kinky Friedman’s writing is definitely form the point of view of someone living in a drunken stupor for much the time, so the only major events mentioned reflect the famous individuals that Kinky Friedman actually knew personally.

 

Nothing much is said in the book about how Kinky Friedman’s character –he doesn’t bother with re-naming himself—came to live in New York City or how he came into contact with people like Imus and Abbie Hoffman. Given that this is an auto-biographical novel, it might have been nice to have a little more of background information on Kinky himself.

 

All in all, Blast from the Past is a fun, short read recommended to anyone like me who tries to look cooler than she actually is.