His first novel, Junior, is not so much a story as it is a glimpse into a tormented, twisted, thoughtful author’s head. Junior is the alter ego of Culkin, providing a self-removed voice for him to express the inner workings of his very complex, young adult mind.
There are moments of such great epiphany in this book that I found myself having to stop every few sections to just let some of his one-line thoughts or simple yet moving poems sink in for a few minutes.
Culkin claims this book is not autobiographical, but the references to his real life teenage and family dramas are glaringly obvious. One of the ongoing short stories interspersed among the book’s pages is that of “Monkey Monkey Boy.” It’s the story of a boy that used to be in the public eye due to his participation in the circus, a reference to his life in the spotlight from such a young age that becomes more and more apparent as the story progresses.
Regardless whose point of view the book is supposedly written from, Junior’s or Culkin’s, it’s a phenomenal read with many thought-provoking moments from beginning to end such as my favorite line, “I like putting folk music where it’s not wanted.”
Junior is currently available.