Crazy About Kurt

Fiction - General
261 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Will Link was born and raised on Long Island before moving to Los Angeles in 2005. He has been a filmmaker, screenwriter, essayist, critic, podcaster and performer. Crazy About Kurt is his first novel. Feel free to contact him via Twitter @TheRealWillLink

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Crazy About Kurt is a coming of age novel written by Will Link. Spring was in the air, and especially appreciated after a long, cold Long Island winter. As the seniors walked into Smithtown High School, there was an air of anticipation mingled with a bit of fear at a school year almost over, of an ending to life as it had always been. Some were excited about college plans; others wondered what they would be doing after the summer and without their friends around anymore. But this Friday, normally a day filled with the anticipation of Friday night and the weekend, came to a crashing end as the news swirled through the hallways -- Kurt Cobain was dead. T.J.’s meandering post-cigarette entrance was interrupted by a shrill scream as a girl registered the tragic news. When he asked her friend what was wrong, T.J. began to process the impact the news would have on his friends and, indeed, the whole school. Cobain and his group, Nirvana, were an integral part of their identity; the loss would resonate and disrupt classes throughout the day. He would come to think it somewhat bizarre that some of the grownups in school wondered if Cobain’s suicide would spark a trend of sympathetic suicides among the students.

Crazy About Kurt follows four friends as they navigate their Friday in school and Friday night, and come to terms with the loss of an icon. I found myself entirely absorbed in the interrelated stories of T.J., Matt, Jeff and Jackie and appreciated how the author built each character’s story and wove their Friday night adventures into a coherent whole. I’m quite familiar with Smithtown and Long Island and loved revisiting the area, especially those diners with their epic menus and opportunities for 24/7 noshes. Link’s characters are credible and come complete with flaws, foibles, hopes and desires. The monster party that Sage is hosting works wonderfully as the goal for each of them, and Jeff’s terrifying interlude as the involuntary driver for three strange kids adds tension and drama.

Anyone who’s grown up on the Island or even lived there for a few years will love this book and the deft touch the author has at making the area and the odyssey each character undertakes that night come alive at that moment of time in the 1990s. The musical and movie selections and the author’s filmmaking background make Jeff and Matt’s story resonate particularly well and add a screenplay feel to the work. And yes, I’d love to see this made into a movie; this debut novel is really something special. Crazy About Kurt is most highly recommended.

Edith Wairimu

Crazy About Kurt by Will Link chronicles one night’s events of four teenagers’ lives during the ‘90s. Kurt Cobain, a popular musician among young people, commits suicide. His death elicits mixed reactions from the students at Smithtown High School. For Jackie, the loss is heart-breaking since Kurt reflected the voice of her generation. While dealing with his death, the four friends struggle with different issues especially those surrounding individuality, acceptance, sex, and the uncertainty of what the future will bring. For some, their future looks bright and well laid out while for others, they are yet to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Still, they find comfort in their friendship even when their individual worlds are spinning.

Will Link’s Crazy About Kurt takes a closer look at what growing up in the ‘90s looked like and, more importantly, he explores the complex world of teenagers. Link’s characters are relatable; all of them seem to have their own share of difficult circumstances that they are experiencing. Their friendship, even if imperfect, adds a wonderful feature to the story. The friends rely on each other to cope. The time line of the story is quite specific, which is another impressive aspect of the book. This approach allows an exhaustive and very intimate look into the lives of the four teenagers. The pace is measured and includes descriptions of thought patterns and characters’ backgrounds. Even so, Crazy About Kurt is packed with interesting details that result in an engaging story line.

K.C. Finn

Crazy About Kurt is a work of coming of age, dramatic fiction penned by author Will Link. Set in the final days of high school for four teenaged Americans, the action falls against the backdrop of the suicide of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in the year 1994. For the friends, this is not the only world-shaking experience of those days, as they struggle on the precipice of adulthood to accept that their time as young, carefree people is soon to be over. First time experiences with sex, true identity, and accepting the passage of time are dealt with as each individual drama unfolds. The summer is coming, and the rest of the world waits with it.

I found Crazy About Kurt to be a superb snapshot of the mid nineties, and as a member of the same generation the days of mix tapes and Jurassic Park were all too familiar to me. The music of the piece brings a vibrant background to the grunge movement and its semi-rebellious teens who want to smoke and drink like adults, but don’t necessarily know what being an adult will really mean. Everything changes with time, and that’s really a central motif that author Will Link weaves superbly into this well-written episode of life. The dialogue is realistic but authentic to the parlance of nineties kids, and the work is not packed with references, but with real experiences that give you that nostalgia all the way through. As such, this is a highly relatable read for older teens and adults harking back to a formative time in their lives.