“In this world, it is too common for people to search for someone to lose themselves in. But I am already lost. I will look for someone to find myself in.” – C. Joy Bell C.
Author: Johnny Williams
Publisher: Punks Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 262 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: In one fall/winter season in the clubs of NYC, a lost soul parties with friends while looking for gay love. “Do you think that punk’s dick hair is blue too?” Packed with humor, candor and sex, Klub Kids takes readers on a ride as they join Johnny Williams and his friends on their clubbing quests to find love and the music to dance and dance and dance their butts off in this fictionalized fun read.
Review: This is a great first novel from a really interesting, funny new author. Johnny Williams gives us an honest window into young gay culture in Klub Kids. I wanted to hug “Johnny” (the character) long and tightly, and so frequently. His internal loneliness and need to find real love was so moving and very much at odds with his external persona. Then, the next moment, when I had finished hugging him, he’d have me peeing my pants laughing.
Klub Kids is the fictionalized account of a group of friends, including Johnny, who live, work and play in New York City during a random Fall/Winter. It is in turns lovely and funny, sexy and heartbreaking, sweet and harsh. Mostly, though, it is honest. It took balls for Johnny Williams, the author, to write a fictionalized account of this time in his life. It leaves the reader wondering exactly how much is true and how much has been altered to protect the innocence (ha!) of the participants.
Klub Kids is written from “Johnny’s” perspective. He is an aspiring writer, and the novel comes across almost as a stream-of-consciousness, free flowing journal of sorts. It reads like the first, unedited draft of a hastily written series of vignettes. I don’t mean unedited to be a comment about Johnny Williams’ writing abilities. I mean it to say that “Johnny” seems more real and accessible because the book feels like he was just writing little bits of himself and his story and the stories of his friends. Johnny Williams’ writing ability is definitely not in question here. He has told a compelling and addictive story.
Everything I have heard about Johnny Williams leans toward “Johnny” maybe not being all that much a “fictionalized” version of Johnny Williams. Either way, I love them both. The courage it takes for an author, especially a first-time author, to put so much of himself into a published work is not something I could ever claim to understand. Or possess! All authors put a lot of themselves into their work. But not too many can honestly and publicly say that the main character, flaws and all, is based solely on themselves.
I didn’t want Klub Kids to end. When I swiped the last page I kept swiping, desperate to find out what comes next. I wanted more of “Johnny” and his friends, interacting in ways only true friends who really know and love each other are able to. I wanted more of the club scene and the music and the city by which I felt surrounded, thanks to Johnny Williams’ detailed descriptions. Mostly, though, I wanted to see “Johnny” find love. He may be looking in all the wrong places, but as I am writing this on Valentine’s Day, I have to believe it is out there for him.
I am looking forward to the sequel, due this spring, though it seems spring may never appear at this rate. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is, or ever was, young at heart and looking for someone to share that heart with.