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Ten Thousand Saints

by Eleanor Henderson

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6783024,175 (3.6)23
When his best friend Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude Keffy-Horn finds his relationship with drugs and his parents devolving into the extreme when he gets caught up in an underground youth culture known as straight edge.
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    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (melmore)
    melmore: Both novels are concerned with the punk scene in the 1980s, both feature lost and wounded protagonists, both trace relationships across decades.

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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Some characters were stronger (Jude, Johnny, Harriet, Les, Rooster) than others (Eliza, Di) but overall, a really affecting look at lost kids and the straight edge movement in the late 80's. I got a visceral feel for the kids' life in Vermont, and in the East Village, but the straight edge music scene seemed less real to me - more described than felt. I wish I got to know Eliza as well as Jude and Johnny. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Compelling characters - yes. Interesting cultural setting - definitely. Well written prose - yes. Enough plot to keep it interesting - sure! What's missing? A thematic thread to link all of the events and elements together. There were just a few too many different ideas floating around that it was hard to focus on one for any amount of time, let alone for Ms. Henderson to follow through fully with them.

I really enjoyed reading this book - it was a wonderful surprise. I just wish I could have emerged from the end of the book knowing what is was attempting to say. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
A very interesting look at teens in the 80's - drugs, the punk/straight-edge movement ( I was very aware of the punk scene, but somehow knew nothing about the straight-edge stuff) the AIDS crisis, NYC before the clean-up, and the remainders of the hippie culture in Vermont. A bit long and draggy in parts, especially for a book that falls into the YA realm. I did not really like any of the characters, which meant I didn't really care too much about what happened to them. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very well developed, the story idea was original and extremely well written. I reserve 5 stars for books that blow my socks off and that I predict will stand the test of time and if it were possible I would give this one 4.5 stars. It was excellent and I highly recommend it. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Amazing novel- so much more than I expected even after reading so many good reviews. The first chapter is the best depiction of the inner and outer lives of teenagers that I have ever read. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Henderson’s book reads in part like an elegy: she follows her characters from 1987 to 2006, long enough to capture the end of the era and its strange aftermath.
added by melmore | editThe New Yorker, Alex Beggs (Jun 27, 2011)
The ambition of "Ten Thousand Saints," Eleanor Henderson’s debut novel about a group of unambitious lost souls, is beautiful. In nearly 400 pages, Henderson does not hold back once: she writes the hell out of every moment, every scene, every perspective, every fleeting impression, every impulse and desire and bit of emotional detritus. She is never ironic or underwhelmed; her preferred mode is fierce, devoted and elegiac.
At times, 'Ten Thousand Saints' feels overplotted, as if the author had let her cast of love-and-drug-besotted misfits take the reins. But that haphazardness paired with the sometime painful teenage rites of passage, adds up to a bittersweet, lovely book.
"Ten Thousand Saints" is a whirling dervish of a first novel — a planet, a universe, a trip. As wild as that may sound, wonder of wonders, the book is also carefully and lovingly created, taking the reader far into the lives and souls of its characters and bringing them back out again, blinking in the bright light.
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Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all. - The Book of Jude
For Aaron
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Is it dreamed?" Jude asked Teddy.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When his best friend Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude Keffy-Horn finds his relationship with drugs and his parents devolving into the extreme when he gets caught up in an underground youth culture known as straight edge.

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Adopted by a pair of diehard hippies, restless, marginal Jude Keffy-Horn spends much of his youth getting high with his friend Teddy. But when Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987 Jude's relationship with drugs and with his parents devolves to new extremes. Sent to live with his pot-dealing father in the East Village, Jude stumbles upon straight edge, an underground youth culture powered by the paradoxical aggression of hard core punk and a righteous intolerance for drugs, meat, and sex. With Teddy's half-brother, Johnny, and their new friend Eliza, Jude tries to honor Teddy's memory through his militantly clean lifestyle. But his addiction to straight edge has its own dangerous consequences. While these teenagers battle to discover themselves, their parents struggle with this new generation's radical reinterpretation of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll and their grown-up awareness of nature and nurture, brotherhood and loss. An emphatically observed portrait of a frayed tangle of family members, devastated, splintered and brought painfully together by a death, the carried along in anticipation of new and unexpected life, Ten Thousand Saints is a rich portrait of the modern age and the struggles that unite and divide gnerations. (ARC)
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