The back cover reads: “If you’re looking for Polly Clark, she’ll be the girl wearing Doc Martens and a Bad Brains T-shirt at the punk show. She’ll be (almost) losing her virginity to a high school dropout, accompanied by the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” She’ll be looking for her artistic soul while trying to solve the mysteries of guys, life, her seriously dysfunctional family . . . and herself.In eight chapters, Polly is shaped by eight relationships in this honest, tender, original, and utterly endearing story of one girl’s stumbles and successes in the world of punked-out 1980s suburban romance — the unforgettable debut of an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.”
The book is about a girl named Polly Clark who lives in Reston, VA with her mom and step-father. Music is a huge part of the story: starting off with The Go-Go’s and ending with grunge in the early 90’s as she’s in college.
Each of the eight chapters is named after which guy she likes or is dating during that time period. The story covers her life from eighth grade to college and during that time, she never really finds what she’s looking for in a relationship.
Her relationship with her parents seems strained at times, but her mother does care about her. She’s usually surprised when William, her step-father, does something nice for her. Her friends are a major part of the story and they help her get through some tough times. I’m happy that she had them and they made the story better.
Once she goes to college things start out rough for her, but they get better after the traumatic events in the Brendan chapter. She discovers that she really likes art and she gets closer to her college friends. She also seems to grow up a bit and be more careful.
It was really neat reading about all of the 80’s punk and hardcore bands since I’ve listened to most of the ones mentioned in the book (The Ramones, Minor Threat, etc.). I also liked the interview with the author that’s in the back of the book. It gave some great insight into the story, much of which is based on the author’s own life as a teenager.