five second summary: there’s a kid, Dondi, who’s dad was a legendary graffiti artist who disappeared when the kid was two years old. Now Dondi’s eighteen, at loose ends, and his dad is back. Stuff happens.
The main thing to say about Rage is Back as a book is that it has such a distinct voice. Dondi comes across so clearly, you really get to know him. He’s a good storyteller, kind of a bullshiter, sometimes a liar, and that works. That’s what makes it kinda great.
I dont’ want to spill the beans. I went in not knowing what to expect, and liked it that way. There’s a bit of magic, and a lot of revolutionary fever. A whole lot of drugs, but done in a way that wasn’t a turn off. The awkward family politics were so on point. The sense of dread and confusion and excitement in Dondi’s narrative was note perfect. Liking this book means liking listening to this kid ramble. You don’t have to trust the narrator, shouldn’t probably, but you have to hear him out. It’s kind of a mess, but I liked it.
I could try to break it down more, look at where it’s coming from, and the culture it’s offering. But I think that would make me like it less, so I’m going to skip that for now.