Adam Rapp

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IHT: This young playwright wants you to flinch

"I like to write about teenagers because it's such an uncertain and dramatic time," he said. "There's so much they are up against, so many pressures: drugs, AIDS, puberty and sexually transmitted diseases. Your life is constantly on edge." Rapp has published five novels in the young-adult genre and says he has about 20 plays in various stages of completion.



The Buffalo Tree

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Ain't no disgrace to be poor - but might as well be.

Comments and reviews of the play "Plants and Animals" now in New York, has prompted me to check out Rapp's novels. I read first "Buffalo Tree" and was really impressed with the rough realism and understanding of adolescent nature. This writer is very much in touch with his own adolescent memories. I work in the kitchen of an "correctional facility" and see the working out and interplay of the "residents", in this semi-tough environment.

The focus and intensity of this book kept a page-turning edge from beginning to end. The end was much softer than it could have been, suggesting lessons learned.

"Missing the Piano", his first published, was a reworking of his own experience growing up, with a talented sibling with great and recognized acting career going, demanding the parent's attention, while the protagonist is shipped off to Military School.

The most engaging, however, is the post-apocaliptic tale "The Copper Elephant", told again in engaging first person, in a crass, unique voice of Whensday Greenhouse, a digit kid, tatooed to go to the pits with the under-twelves, but saved from a tyrannical Syndicate, by a kindly cabinate maker. The landscape is Bosch, and the writing like Jerzy Kazinski's Painted Bird. I was much taken by these stories.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on May 16, 2003 7:09 AM.

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