Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This review is from: Musical Chairs (Paperback)
Through the palpable voice of a runaway teenage girl, Musical Chairs delivers a powerful punch and ultimately inspiring portrait that transcends every parents' nightmare. With a raw terrible beauty and razor-sharp prose that often lifts the reader toward a magical dreamscape, Jen Knox not only re-creates her troubled youth, but brings her childhood self back to independent life. The author, Jen Knox, recedes, and this little skinny waif, Jenny begins to breathe in the rarefied atmoshere of a dark Salinger tale. Sometimes reminiscent of Holden Caulfield, with mascara and bubble gum, Jenny, no matter how much booze she consumes or 'dances' she performs, is always an innocent child. Vulnerable in a world of menace and mayhem,, Jenny never succumbs to a seemingly insurmountable fate. Mental illness,the great crippler is also the last great frontier. Hers is a desperate need to overcome who she is, and the intelligence of her quest to understand her rebellion. As a parent, and father, I could not understand the crime which drove her out of the house. Though emotionally vacuous, her father did not deserve that fate. Except, isn't that the ultimate expression of teenage angst? Haven't so many of us left home in all but the body?
Jen Knox has created Jenny, a tough kid out of dark streets around the glitter of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, who only bends but never breaks.She is uncompromising and brutally frank. Yet her intelligence and grit take her on an outer journey exploring inner worlds. That dynamic makes Musical Chairs a noteworthy, controversial, exceptional but disturbing work of fiction-- it is about coming of age and alienation, isolation and the need to be recognized. Usually told from a male perspective, Musical Chairs lifts gender related issues toward a more balanced presentation. The heroine here is also the author whose child within, we hope, has finally found safe passage and a happy home.

Robert Rubenstein
Author, Ghost Runners
Now on Amazon

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