Review from the Avid Reader

An unfavorable, but  somewhat disconnected, review of A Masque of Infamy from The Avid Reader blog.

I thought this book was an ok read. it was horrible but it wasnt great. Louis was the character who I liked the most in this book . The thing for me with this book is a didnt like the writting style. The plot of the book was good too, it was different and refreshing which I always love reading books that I dont read all the time. I also love the cover too, I think its very cool! I would recommend this book because I think there are people out there who would like it, mind you its not for everyone but its worth a read or a look.

Further Reading: Piltdownlad

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A common response to the novel has been that it ends abruptly and there is no tidy conclusion, no sense of what the future will hold for Louis or his brother. Because I tried to make the novel as close to the real experience as I could, within the limits of memory and the constraints of narrative, A Masque of Infamy is a story about real life, and real life is almost always messy.

At one point, I contemplated writing a fictional ending that would tie it all together, but it just didn’t seem genuine. And as much as this is billed as a “novel,” I only changed names to protect my family, and because I used a lot of dialogue to tell the story, I couldn’t in good conscious call it a memoir. But it is a true story. This is how it happened.

If you’d like to read more about the experiences of Louis Baudrey, check out my zine Piltdownlad, which is where I print stories from before and after the events depicted in A Masque of Infamy.

Sid Was A True Anarchist – An Excerpt

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During lunch, the Cult of Teddy Ruxpin sat at our table in the cafeteria and discussed the important matters of the day, like which Sex Pistol was more of an anarchist.

“Sid was a true anarchist,” Vic argued.

“But Johnny Rotten wrote all the lyrics,” Brett pointed out.

“Johnny was only a fashionista with a reggae bent. Fuck PIL! Sid was the real rebel in the group.”

“But Sid couldn’t even play his instrument.”

“Exactly! That’s a true anarchist. Sid was the spirit of the band. Johnny Rotten was just the voice. The message was all Sid’s, even before he joined the band. Without him there would never have been—” Vic stopped short.

Four burly jocks in letterman jackets walked up to our table.

“Well, well, well… what do we have here?” one of the guys said. “You the ones been writing all that Teddy Ruxpin Rules crap around school?”

We snickered at the way he said Teddy Ruxpin with such disdain in his country drawl.

“What y’all doing is blasphemy,” he added. “The only one that rules is God.”

Vic and I smirked while Brett laughed out loud.

“You think that’s funny, freak?” He got in Brett’s face. “Is God funny to you?”

“It’s kind of funny, yeah,” Brett said.

“I think we need to have a little chat.” The guy grabbed Brett by the collar and pulled him through a side door.

The other jocks stood over Vic and me in case we tried to make a move.

“What’s your problem?” Vic demanded.

“You’re my problem, loser.”

“You shouldn’t be mixed up with these two space-cases,” one of the jocks told me. “We thought you were smarter than that.”

I was surprised they had noticed me. A little flattered even. But I said, “I guess I’m not that smart after all.”

In the corner of my eye, obscured in the small frosted glass of the door, I saw a flurry of movement outside.

A few seconds later, Brett came back in, his face drawn up. He walked past us without saying a word.

“Hey!” Vic and I ran after him. “Slow down, man. What happened?”

“The fucker punched me!” Brett said over his shoulder and kept moving.

“That’s fucked up!” I told Vic. “We should do something.”

“What’s the point? It’s not going to change anything.”

I looked back at the jocks, high-fiving each other.
“Motherfuckers,” I said under my breath.

From that day on, I became the self-appointed Minister of Propaganda for the Cult of Teddy Ruxpin. I spent most of my class time coming up with new slogans like, “Teddy Ruxpin Died for Your Sins,” “Praise Be To Teddy Ruxpin” and “If I Were A Stuffed Bear I Would Be Teddy Ruxpin.”

Within a week, Teddy Ruxpin related graffiti around campus quadrupled.

(Read more about “The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin” here.)

A Masque of Infamy

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A Masque of Infamy is a horrific and raucous story of teenage rebellion. But instead of “What d’ya got?” fifteen-year-old Louis Baudrey knows exactly what he’s fighting against…

After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and this guy Rick, a friend of the family, Louis tries to fit in at the local high school, but the Bible-thumpers and the rednecks don’t take too kindly to his outlandish wardrobe and burgeoning punk attitude. At home, he defies the sadistic intentions of Rick, who rules the household with an iron fist. As Louis begins to lose all hope, he stumbles upon indisputable proof that will free him and his brother from Rick’s tyranny. But just when he thinks his troubles are over, he’s locked up in the adolescent ward of a mental hospital, where he must fight the red tape of the system to realize his dream of being a punk rocker.

“A Masque of Infamy captures the screaming, up-from-the-toes intensity and torment of the United States of Adolescence. No one who reads this book will be left unchanged by its savage and unforgiving beauty.” – Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“The overwhelming rawness of Kelly Dessaint’s story about children attempting to navigate a world completely fucked up by adults is like a punch to the chest.” – Davida Gypsy Breier, editor of Xerography Debt

“Kelly Dessaint twists the horror of growing up in a highly dysfunctional American family into a hilarious tale of survival. Detailing the trauma of being institutionalized as a teenager after having taken revenge against an abusive father figure, A Masque of Infamy is a story about stubbornly overcoming the odds to live long enough to tell the truth about just how shitty it is to be a kid in this country.” – Lydia Lunch