“Small Town Punk is full of raw feeling and taut smart prose. John Sheppard gets that Reagan-era rage and humor just right. This novel is an ode to those kids at the dead-end jobs who knew that the morning in America was really dusk at best, but had each other, a little weed, and gas.”–Sam Lipsyte
“…authentic..with a sense of natural, unforced humor.”–Booklist
“Sheppard writes with a sharp pen about the landscape that defines Buzz’s world. But Buzz progresses in the novel from someone torn between what to do with his life when he is 17 to someone who, on turning 18, still hasn’t a clue.”–Chicago Sun-Times
Trapped in dreary Sarasota, Florida in the early 1980s—during Reagan’s “Morning in America,”—going to high school with junior fascists by day, working at Pizza Hut by night, his family a dysfunctional nightmare, 17-year old Buzz Pepper feels that nothing matters in life beyond drinking, drugs and punk rock.
As the country around him is becoming more conservative and corporate, and adulthood seems like the ultimate corrupt existence, Buzz can only find solace within a close-knit group of fellow disillusioned teens, which includes his devoted younger sister, Sissy. As they drive around in Buzz’s beat-up van, encountering redneck cops, mocking the local “geezers,” and wondering if there is any meaning in what seems to be a meaningless world, Small Town Punk perfectly captures how it is to be young, yet feel that you have no future.
JOHN SHEPPARD’s short stories have appeared in Bridge Magazine and Exquisite Corpse. He has an MFA from the University of Florida.A veteran of the first gulf war, he currently lives in Chicago.