Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin

Two stories in 1970s America.

One has grown up with an abusive father, a passive mother, absent siblings. Brother Carl is shot by a bad guy. This neighborhood isn't safe. The white people have to look out for themselves, that's what mom and dad say. It was a nigger ...
Drinking in the basement with Carl after they catch the guy, drowning the pain of a new DIY tattoo, only 13 years old. It's nice hanging out with Carl, even if he gets too cool when his friends are around.

The other has grown up in a big family, surrounded by Grandma and Grandpa, laid back stylish dad, beautiful disciplined mother ... until the day when his brother Paul takes off and doesn't come back. Then they are moving out, and mom and dad are getting divorced. They have to go to Catholic school, and Mom becomes severe, disciplined, very religious. The only highlight is dance class on Saturdays, where the most beautiful guy in class kisses so soft.

One gets high on whatever is around, drinking and smoking are easier than dealing with what goes on inside. It's not like Mom and Dad ever do anything about it. The only thing that helps is punk. The punk scene, the music, the fashion, the violence, the anger, the people, the shows, the rebellion! Finally something to relate to, to express himself.

One can't belive it how everything is falling apart. Jason decides he knows what will bring everyone together: he will break down the walls of lies with his truth. He will come out to his family, and they will open up to each other ... only that isn't what happens. His father walks out, his mother locks the door behind him, and he is left to fend for himself at 14.

Doug is in a band, they're gonna be famous. They are going to feel something, do something, BE something! Some punk cuts his hair, but he doesn't care. He's gonna do a mohawk, start clubbing for real, MEET people .. like chicks, because Doug is no fag. He's 6'4" and 140 pounds of angry, ready to stand up to anyone and anything, violence is so punk rock.

Jason doesn't know what to do, or where to go. All he can remember is the perfection of Castro Street, how boys and men could hold hands in public, and be themselves. It seemed like the only place he could go. But once he's there, he doesn't know what to do. He finds a little alley, a nook he can call his own, and falls asleep. In the morning he starts to learn how to fend for himself, asking for change, eating someone's left overs, and he starts to hang with the other boys who are making a living working the streets.

Two boys who are lost, fending for themselves in a cruel world ... surrounded by bad influences and people looking to use them. Their families don't care, their friends don't seem to know what is good for them ... their lives are on a crash course. Where will they end up? Such a powerful (and true) story about prejudice and the dangers of passing on your hate to your children, your friends, your enemies.

"I never saw a kid that night;
I saw a creature, an enemy, taking something that belonged
to me. That's not an excuse, I know - there is no excuse
no good reason. It's not an apology either. Apologies
don't really help. The thing is done. I did it,"

(Hurwin pg. 3, 2009).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Love Drugged by James Klise
Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers

Hurwin, Davida Wills. (2009).  Freaks and Revelations. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

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