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Freak Show by James St. James

February 12, 2008

Billy Bloom is kicked out of his mother’s house after he is caught wearing her cocktail dress.  Subsequently, the adrogenous flame-haired teen drag queen is sent to live with his estranged father in the Florida swamp lands.  On his first day of school Billy thinks it would be a great idea to wear a vintage Vivienne Westwood pirate outfit (lip gloss and mascara included) to the ultra conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower academy.  However, his fellow classmates are not so like minded and Billy is met with an onslaught of hatemongers who bombard him with spitballs and homophobic epitaphs.  To counteract his fellow students Billy dreams up the most outragous costume to scare the hate out of them,  the ultimate swamp queen ensemble.  However, his plan backfires and his classmates beat him until he is knocked unconscious.  Just as Billy falls into a coma he is saved by Flip Kelly the all around golden boy football player of the school.  As Billy recovers from the beating he and Flip become best friends.  However,  Billy still longs for his classmates acceptance and feels the only way to win them over is to run for homecoming queen. Will he succeed and change a school full of narrow-minded “aberzombies”? 

James St. James author of Disco Bloodbath, a chilling memoir of  club kid life during the late 80s-90s, has written a young adult novel loosely based on his life. And if you watched Party Monster you will definitely see the similarities between St. Jame’s club kid character and Billy Bloom.  While I was reading this book I kept thinking it had indie movie written all over it. The book is written with such fierce sharp wit that you’ll be quoting lines from the book for days.  I still can’t get “Tease hair not homos!” out of my head.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2008 9:12 am

    This was an amusing book, but also very, very sad. We’ve had a lot of workshops in our district on bullying, and Billy fits the profile of students who purposely do outrageous things and leave themselves wide open for abuse. It’s very tough to stop students from bullying these children, so reading about it was hard. Amusing book, yes, but troubled character.

  2. February 15, 2008 12:39 pm

    I LOVED this book. It was one of my favorites of the year. The cover was great, too. I know he is working on a comilation of stories from teens, but I hope St. James writes some more books himself.

  3. Jolene permalink*
    February 15, 2008 4:18 pm

    Ms. Yingling: I think it’s great that you have workshops to help stop bullying in school. Way to go! And yes it’s very sad that students who do not follow the ‘norm’ are bullied, but even students who are supposedly ‘normal’ or who are just a little bit too ethnic are bullied in school. I don’t think students who act outragous are calling out to be abused. It certainly doesen’t merit students who are gay to be beaten into a coma. I didn’t find Billy’s character to be troubled, but more of example of person who is not afraid to be who they are under any circumstances. What was troubling was the harassment he recieves from his fellow students and ignorance of it by his teachers. Perhaps, this book will help teens to triumph over any difficulties with bullying in school.

    Sheryl: Yeah I loved the cover too. Although it kinda reminds me of Perez Hilton. I will definately check out more of his teen novels in the future! See you on Mon. for our button making project.

  4. August 26, 2011 4:13 pm

    I remember the club kids back in the 80’s until 95 and James St James wrote a very accurate book about the life back then. Michae Alig and James were really popular. I was never a club kid but knew Michael and James. They had some crazy times. The book is great.

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