Bad Kid: A Memoir (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A hilarious and heartwrenching love song to all the weirdos, outcasts, freaks, and outsiders. To all of my weird kin: pick this up and read it now. Brace yourself for the feeling of having a long-lost piece of your heart forcibly slammed back into place.

— From Sarah


Filled with the music and popular culture of the late-eighties and early-nineties, this refreshingly honest and hilarious coming-of-age memoir from comedian, storyteller, and The Moth host David Crabb tells a universally resonant story about growing up gay and Goth in San Antonio, Texas. 

In the summer of 1989, three Goth kids crossed a street in San Antonio. They had no idea that a deeply confused fourteen-year-old boy was watching. Their dyed hair, fishnets, and eyeliner were his first evidence of another world—a place he desperately wanted to go. He just had no idea how to get there.

Somehow David Crabb had convinced himself that every guy preferred French-braiding his girlfriend’s hair to making out, and that the funny feelings he got watching Silver Spoons and Growing Pains had nothing to do with Ricky Schroeder or Kirk Cameron. But discovering George Michael’s Faith confirmed for David what every bully already knew: he was gay. Surviving high school, with its gym classes, locker rooms, and naked, glistening senior guys, would require impossible feats of denial. 

What saved him was finding a group of outlandish friends who reveled in being outsiders. David found himself enmeshed with misfits: wearing black, cutting class, staying out all night, drinking, tripping, chain-smoking, idolizing The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, and Joy Division—and learning lessons about life and love along the way. 

Richly detailed with 80s pop-culture, and including black and white photos throughout, BAD KID is as laugh-out-loud funny as it is poignant. Crabb’s journey through adolescence captures the essence of every person’s struggle to understand his or her true self.

About the Author

David Crabb is a performer, writer, teacher, and storyteller in New York City. He is a Moth StorySLAM host and three-time Moth Slam winner. His solo show Bad Kid was met with critical acclaim from the New York Times, Flavorpill, NY Metro, and many others, and named a New York Times Critics' Pick.

Praise For…

“The author’s story wonderfully captures the awkwardness, strife, and even terror of his experience as a gay teen; it is also upbeat, endearing, and achingly funny. A vivid and dramatic slice of adolescence.”
Kirkus Reviews

“I expected a memoir from David Crabb to be funny; what I wasn’t prepared for is how touching it is. It’s a story of finding oneself in adolescence for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.”
— Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil

“Crabb winds up taking us to the sweet spot of literature: the truth. I rarely laugh or cry when reading. Bad Kid moved me to both.”
— Brad Gooch, author of Smash Cut

“You simply won’t find a more hilarious and captivating storyteller than David Crabb. His tales of a misspent youth are jaw-dropping, but clearly, his head and heart stayed gold.”
— Kevin Allison, writer and performing member of MTV's The State

“How can this author’s painful coming-out story-set in Texas be so utterly hilarious? Only David Crabb could transform loneliness and awkwardness and heartache into a laugh-out-loud, ‘90s-music-blasting, eyeliner-dripping joy ride. Bad Kid is a must-read.”
— Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire and Skinny

“...engaging memoir...Crabb presents this hormone-fueled roller-coaster ride with humor and sensitivity, and draws moving portraits of the people who provided him with a community. Crabb’s exploration of the intensity, and necessity, of teen friendships especially resonates.”
Publishers Weekly

“With just the right mix of humor and pathos, Crabb recounts cringe-worthy teenage milestones like a forced first kiss and the unwanted gift of a car. Not everyone had to face what he did, but all can empathize with Bad Kid.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062371287
ISBN-10: 0062371282
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English
Series: P.S. (Paperback)