A MISFIT'S MANIFESTO - REVIEWS
Gaines is a formidable presence--writer (Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids), sociologist, professor and lifelong rock 'n' roll fan. In this memoir, she explores the connections among those facets of her personality, with the rhythmic strains of 1950s and 1960s rock as guidelines for love, solace in heartbreak, and refuge when all else failed. The chapters about her youthful struggles with weight, alcohol, pills, alienation, and family tragedy in Queens, NY, are among the book's best--witty, poignant, and painfully honest. Life's complications continued into an adulthood riddled with mercurial relationships, overwork, quests for truth, and more alcohol, but music--be it punk or heavy metal-continued to come to the rescue. A magnetic writer who provides an absorbing study in contrasts, Gaines is a keen observer of the sociology of time, place, and pop musical trends. Although some readers may find her memories too candid, the book will certainly resonate for those who identified with rock and pop culture as part of coming of age-and so much the better if they are of the boomer generation and from New York's eastern boroughs and 'burbs. For pop music and circulating collections.