The lovely and talented Tera Lynn Childs, helped me pick out presents for my kids in San Fran. My 17-year-old daughter scored an adorable Juicy Couture key chain, (She recently began driving again) and my 18-year-old son, who loves a wide range of music and books, got a copy of Stephanie Kuehnert's debut book, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, wrapped in a vintage Ramone's T-shirt. How cool is that? Now I am touring Steph!
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone (MTV Books; July 2008; $13.00) is a raw, emotional story about growing up punk and living to tell from brilliant debut novelist, Stephanie Kuehnert.
Sid Vicious isn’t exactly a role model in the wholesome, small town Midwest. Neither is Louisa Carson-Black, who has earned the position of the proverbial black sheep of Carlisle, Wisconsin by hightailing it out of town to pursue the punk rock scene. After all, what go better together than the restlessness of youth and punk rock? The only problem is that in her exodus, Louisa leaves behind her four-month-year-old daughter Emily…
As Emily is raised by her father, the only way she gets to know Louisa is through her abandoned records. It’s no CBGB’s, but Emily witnesses the evolution of punk in an old warehouse called River’s Edge, and she even develops some fist-pumping, anarchist mannerisms of her own. Although Emily would like to pretend that it is, her life is certainly no carefree “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Deep down inside, she has a burning need to find her mother. Emily sets out to follow the musical trail that Louisa leaves behind, which ends up leading her to fame and glory that she never imagined!
If Louisa wants to live on the cutting edge of punk rock, then what better way to attract her than to be the next best thing in punk? Emily realizes that she has to become Sleater-Kinney’s “queen of rock and roll” to bring her mother back to her. Emily transforms into punk royalty as she starts up her own widely acclaimed band She Laughs. The last thing that she wants is be taken for granted by her mother, but when the music does eventually guide Louisa to Emily, Emily discovers that there is whole lot more to Louisa’s flight than just youthful impulsivity!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Kuehnert works at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing, but is a writer through and through. She has published short stories, interviews, and essays in Hair Trigger and No Touching magazines, as well as for websites such as inkstains.org, freshyarn.com, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She was recently named to the Lit 50, the list of Chicago's hottest writers by NewCity, the renowned list also includes Studs Terkel, Elizabeth Berg, Scott Turrow, Aleksandar Hemon, and Audrey Niffenegger. Stephanie received her Bachelor’s in Fiction Writing at Columbia College in Chicago, and went on to earn her master’s degree there in 2006. She was awarded Third Place in Traditional Fiction by the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association for “Fairytale”, an excerpt from her novel I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. Stephanie currently lives in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with her boyfriend and three cats. Stephanie’s heart and soul will always reside in Chicago, and her up-and-coming work Ballads of Suburbia has been divinely inspired by the Windy City.