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My Loose Thread by Dennis Cooper

My Loose Thread

by Dennis Cooper

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1685108,462 (3.58)3
Larry is a teenager wrestling not only with his sexuality and the implications of a physical relationship with his younger brother, but with the very point of his existence. He is numb to almost all that surrounds him. As the book opens, Larry has been paid $500 by a senior to kill a fellow pupil and retrieve the boy's notebook. It seems simple enough. However, once Larry delves into the notebook, complications arise. An immensely powerful work that explores teenage depression, moral vacuity and the confusion of love, My Loose Thread is a claustrophobic and harrowing piece of fiction.… (more)



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"The picture of Rand on my dresser. It's from two years ago. . . . Rand wasn't on drugs yet. . . . If you look at that picture, and think of Rand dead, the thought kills itself before he's dead. By the time he was dead, he already looked it to me. All he had to do was close his eyes." ( )
  chretien | Jul 3, 2010 |
This book pissed me off. The cover is filled with accolades about the writer. They say only he can tackle such a dangerous subject and get away with it. Bullshit. He shouldn't have got away with it.

The story is about a bunch of idiot teens that are obsessed with gayness, sex, murder, and self-punishment. Many of them are cutters and wear the body scars like war medals. Obviously inspired by all of the recent school shooting and in particular the Columbine incident, the book follows one idiot as he tries to learn why he's so fucked up. Written in the first person point-of-view by a kid who can't even think one coherent thought it rambles on in disjointed sentences and clunky thoughts.

If shooting, hacking up, and strangling your school mates is not enough, Dennis threw in a little incestuous sex and gay issues along with a juvenile Nazi fan club.

It's just a stupid book. I gave it two stars because it was short and I liked the shrink who was an even bigger idiot. ( )
2 vote Banoo | Mar 30, 2009 |
MLT is an everyday tale of violence, rape and a Columbine style shooting.
Larry, our narrator, is a disturbed teenager who accidentally killed his best friend Rand by striking him so hard he suffers an aneurysm after he is shown pictures of his brother Jim naked, with whom Larry has a disturbing, possibly incestuous, relationship. At the same time he has been paid by a neo-Nazi to kill a fellow pupil of his brothers because of a journal that may include things that are better left unsaid. Then it gets bad. And all because teenagers who are rampant homophobes can't cope with their overpowering homosexual desires.

There are two ways at looking at a novella like this.
One, it is a searing indictment of the alienation of American youth, a sort of Holden Caulfield Does Columbine. Modern life is so fractured, so uncontrollable for emotionally vulnerable children that violence is the only possible outcome.
The other view is that works like this are completely over-the-top, someone can't just have difficulty coming to terms with their sexuality they have to have 17 other issues to gild the lily. Unfortunately for Cooper this is what happens here, he can't help over-egging the pudding, adding more and more to the mix, to the extent that it becomes more than a little farcical.

This leads onto the biggest problem with the work, the characters are just not believable. Cooper stated “I feel like it's a documentary. I wanted it to be like there's this kid's head, and here is the stuff coming out of this kid's head. There's no bullshit, there's no art, and there's no tricks.” This could be seen as a documentary but if it is, it is a documentary where the kids are playing up to the filmmaker, and which will later be revealed to be have been faked in places, and re-edited in others to get the right 'shocking' effect. These characters are not real teenagers, they are pulled from news headlines and tabloids, and filtered through the brain of a 45 year old author who wants to be hip and happening. That's not to say Cooper is without talent, some of writing is actually very good, he doesn't fall into the trap of making disaffected teenagers over articulate, the narrative is suitably fragmented and confused, but what he can't do is make them real. Cooper may feel he's revealing the mean streets of teenage wildlife in this work but nothing rings true, and without a grain of truth this is a hollow book. ( )
2 vote Jargoneer | Sep 4, 2007 |
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