Ten Thousand Saints, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Vermont, New Year's Eve, 1987. All Jude wants to do is get high. All Teddy wants to do is get out. One of them won't live to see 1988. In the wake of this death, three teenagers will try to find a way of honouring their lost friend.

Is clean living the answer? Is parenthood? Or the simplicity of carrying out a last wish? Winding its way through Vermont, New York, the Straight Edge music scene and the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Ten Thousand Saints is a fierce, brilliant depiction of all types of love and its flaws, of life, loss and pain; a profoundly human story that explores how one moment of carelessness can impact the lives of so many.


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It was in the early stages of this novel, when 'bongs' were being mentioned regularly, and I had to admit I didn't know what a bong was, that I began to suspect I may be unqualified to read it. Books involving drugs often leave me confused, but in this case it was more fighting off boredom. There were interesting bits, small moments of drama, and a bit of humour (the militant vegetarians attacking the barbecue with 'piss-filled water guns' was excellent), but in between I found it tedious. I detected a determination to portray the characters' issues with drugs in a way that wasn't judgemental or disapproving, but I still found it hard to sympathise with any of them; mostly I just wanted them to get over themselves.