Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Last Dance at The Frosty Queen: Richard Uhlig
Another book sale buy, Last Dance At The Frosty Queen was a surprise. I had no idea what it was about, but the cover was catchy and the title was quirky. I figured that for 50 cents, it could be a total dud and I wouldn't have lost anything.
Uhlig makes his debut with this teen novel about Arthur Flood (aka, Arty), an eighteen-year-old high school senior living in tiny Harker City, Kansas. Arty has big dreams about moving away from Harker and living a bigger life, surrounded by people he's never met. Arty turns out to be a very complex character. He's sleeping with his Drama teacher, Mrs. Kaye, while also dating Geraldine Bottoms from the Ichthus club (it's a bible study group). Arty works for the Stileses who own Stiles' Styles--a design shop in town that was intended to put Harker City on the map. Arty's best friend is a theater buff named Barry, a closeted gay boy who works at the Frosty Queen--the first fast food shop in town. Arty's life seems pretty dull until he meets Vanessa from California. She's dark and mysterious and irresistibly beautiful. And of course, she's a little bit crazy, which is probably what Arty likes about her. This is all background noise to the real Arty Flood story though, which is the death of his drunk mother some years previous, which he's never fully dealt with.
I think I'm still processing this book. For being marketed for teens, it's got a lot of intense emotions and some very graphic sex. The language is also a little rough at times. This book is just like an eighteen-year-old boy in many ways. It's funny and a little bit painful. It's awkward and self-conscious. It's also tender-hearted when you start to learn some of it's secrets.