Story & art by Kevin Colden
Reviewed by Steve Seigh
I never grew up in a place like FishTown, but I certainly have known my share of troubled young adults during my time spent in the seedy underbelly of New York City. I’ve known criminals, musicians, starting sports sensations, and children failed by their parents in every conceivable way. I haven’t seen most of them in a very long time, and who is to know how each on of them turned out? But my only hope is that none of them turned out to be as depraved as Adrian, Keith, Justin, and Angelica. These four kids are the horseman of an all too real apocalypse. And that’s perhaps the most disturbing thing about FishTown is that not only do the events of this book happen in our very real lives, but they happen all the time. Everywhere.
Kevin Colden invites you in to a very compromising position as the reader of this book. The intimacy you share with each of these characters as they recant their roles in the brutal murder of a local boy is enough to make you want to take a long, scolding shower at the close of the book. I hear stories like this all the time on the local news. The fact is that humans are unstable. We’re unpredictable animals who given the wrong set of circumstances will turn out to be the scum of the earth, caring not for our fellow man. FishTown paints the picture of a city of nursed on drugs, abusive parents, failed dreams, and shattered youth. It’s a place that feels more and more real as the plot develops. And I swear that you can just about taste the blood and dirt as you flip through each yellowed page.
I’ve known jezebells like Angelica. I’ve known psychotics like Justin and brothers like Keith and Adrian. I’ve been friends with lost souls, drug enthusiasts, bullies, and the severely depressed. I’ve heard gunshots in the night and I’ve ignored the cries of sobbing women from darkened alleyways. But I hope that I never run into the type of monsters it takes to spawn people like the kids of FishTown. No amount of rehabilitation will help them, no measure of faith will heal them. They’re rotten to the core and they revel in it. There’s nothing scarier than someone who is comfortable within their own cruel insanity. You’re going to meet four people just like this should you choose to read this book. Enjoy and be sure to scrub vigorously after you put the book down. After all, who knows what you could contract from Angelica?
I can tell you personally that I am damn happy with my purchase of this book. If you’re into gritty psychological drama that shakes you up inside than this is your book. It’s brutal, honest, and truly disturbing. I loved it.
* This review was written while listening to the album This is Happening by the band LCD Soundsystem.