Theres no refuting it: adolescence sucks. Its messy, embarrassing, and it smells funny. Growing up under the most normal of circumstances can be trying, but the protagonist of Tony DuShanes first novel has it really rough. Hes being watched. All the time. By God. And Hes not happy. Confessions of A Teenage Jesus Jerk follows the trials and tribulations of a teenage boy named Gabe whos a Jehovahs Witness. Not only does Gabes community condemn masturbation and sex before marriage, they want Gabe and his teenage cohorts to spend their weekends going door to door spreading the word. In between nursing libidinous crushes on girls in his congregation and wondering whether hes going to survive Armageddon, Gabe is having doors slammed in his face, Watchtower in hand. DuShane is no stranger to the world of Jehovahs Witnesses; the book is loosely based on his own life. DuShane may have been a teenage Jesus jerk, but now the local writer with a dramatic handlebar mustache and pensive eyebrows is a regular at literary events all over town, and hosts a radio show on which hes rubbed elbows with the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and Miranda July. So maybe Gabe makes it out OK in the end.
DuShane reads tonight at the monthly Rumpus online magazine event, performing along with Daniel Handler, Ethan Watters, and other authors, as well as DJ Real and the Yellow Dress.
Mon., Feb. 8, 7 p.m., 2010