Set in southern California during Reagan's 1980s, Michael Scott Moore's first novel follows the exploits of two teenage boys: Eric, an intelligent, thoughtful, socially restless honors student, and Tom, a defiant, posturing rebel, with a Clockwork Orange complex and a taste for cocaine and cowboy hats. Fifteen years after his ostensibly accidental death at the hands of Tom, Eric narrates the story of his last few months on earth. He believes he is a nefesh, a restless Jewish ghost that wanders the earth until put at ease, and he ultimately realizes that in order to find peace he must reconcile his resentment and vengefulness with his own enduring incredulousness over his premature death. This humorous, honest, and, at times, heartbreaking book introduces a new city to the atlas of imaginary American towns. Moore's Calaveras Beach is a microcosm of L.A.'s protean pop culture, where Rasta beach bums, trust-fund gutter punks, and Nicaraguan drug lords weave in and out of the lives of grieving hausfraus, pitiable driver's-ed instructors, and awkward adolescents. All mix seamlessly in this enjoyable debut novel about the confusion and frustration we face while coming of age, and the fears and apprehensions that may persist well after death.
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