Morgan’s commemoration of both the epochal and the personal, especially through long, often amusing stretches of re-imagined dialogue, offers a fresh perspective on an era that has been often memorialized. He depicts his younger self as bright and chatty (“I guess it violates their no-fun policy,” he says, of the Lutheran tendency to discourage dancing) as he and the Rejects debate the issues of the day, from civil rights (“I think down in Mississippi they haven’t accepted the fact they lost the Civil War”), to the rock revolution (“the organ solo is what makes that song really great,” Morgan says, of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”), and beyond: Morgan’s not shy about sharing the boys’ girl talk or innocent-in-retrospect dirty jokes.
That dialogue and Morgan’s clear relish of the era’s pop culture combine into a raucous yet tender portrait of coming of age in a time of change. The conversations zip past, though the memoir doesn’t develop much narrative momentum until life—in the form of the draft board, a sword of Damocles hanging over all the boys—imposes an endpoint on this chapter of Morgan’s development and on this vivid, engaging history.
Takeaway: A vivid evocation of what it felt like—and what everyone was talking about—when coming of age in 1960s Southern California.
Great for fans of: Ken Levine’s The Me Generation... By Me (Growing Up in the '60s), Dorothy K. Fletcher’s HOJO Girl.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A