It's a great book anyway. The reader winds up feeling deep, protective affection for Oswald, a latter-day Holden Caulfield, and for the lost little foulmouths who surround him. Meno's language, as the story unfolds, is rhythmic and honest, expressing things proper English never could. And you've got to hand it to the author, who pulled off a very good trick: The book is punk rock. It's not just about punk rock (despite its obsession with mix tapes and constant references to Minor Threat and the Misfits); it embodies the idea of punk -- it's pissed off at authority, it won't groom itself properly, and it irritates. Yet its rebellious spirit is inspiring and right on the mark.
Plus, Hairstyles has tons of attitude: "All the kids who had been geeks or fags or nerds or wastoids in junior high started dressing fucked-up when they hit high school ... now they would get pointed at and laughed at, but no one would fuck with them and so they didn't have to take anyone's shit ever again. Being punk meant having something to fight against." Long live rule-breakers. -- Hiya Swanhuyser