BERKELEY, Calif. - "The Lesser Blessed" by Richard Van Camp compassionately
and humorously exposes the unavoidable truths of teen-dom - the romance,
terror, sex, abuse and friendship that any adolescent soul experiences.
Larry Sole is the everyman of this coming-of-age story. He is a Dogrib
Indian growing up in the small town of Fort Simmer a fictional composite,
according to the author, of several northern Canadian communities.
Larry's soul burns for the attention and love of Juliet Hope, the high
school "tramp" that captivates and fulfills any boy she wants. Larry loves
rock 'n' roll, the North and Juliet, who like the Shakespearean Juliet, is
destined to live a life wrought with romance and tragedy. Larry is haunted
by a fiery past rife with abuse, but his tender affection and flaming lust
for Juliet light his way into the future.
Its vividly-drawn characters color the profane reality of the
lesser-blessed population of Fort Simmer. Johnny Beck is the cocky Metis
city outsider who shows Larry how to swagger. Darcy McMannus is the giant
bully afraid to show his gentle heart. Jazz the Jackal is the buck-toothed
skinny bully who feasts on the fleshy humiliation of anyone around him
rather than face humiliation himself. And then there is Larry, the scarred,
vulnerable protagonist who survives the horrors of his past, courageously
runs from a pack of blue monkeys while just trying to survive his reality.
This story is not just a coming-of-age tale of angst and woe; it is a
thoroughly modern and hysterically funny picture of contemporary Native
teens that are reluctantly shaped by the past and aspire for a more blessed
future. Van Camp addresses the contemporary pitfalls of being an
adolescent, while also capturing the romantic, insecure roller-coaster of
"The Lesser Blessed" is not just painfully honest, it is hysterically
funny. Van Camp mixes pleasure and pain so well in this first novel that as
the reader wipes away the tears, they can't help but uproariously laugh out
loud. Van Camp also reminds us that although we all may be the lesser
blessed, our lives are blessed with love and laughter.
"The Lesser Blessed" was published by Douglas and McIntyre. For more
information, visit www.douglas-mcintyre.com.