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Deborah Digges   The Stardust Lounge  
Deborah Digges    
essay

excerpt

 

The Stardust Lounge is a potentially agonizingly suspenseful read if you have no idea how things are going to turn out.

It is the story of a male adolescence lived to its hilt, of young Stephen Digges stealing cars, bringing home guns, running in gangs. It is this story as told by his mother Deborah, who fights to sustain a family in the face of her son's outrageous behavior but never loses a sense of admiration for the enthusiasm and flair of his rebellion.

Deborah is an exquisite writer who is never afraid to take the risks the story demands, so the book pulses with the energy of Stephen's adolescence and captures the physical and emotional rawness of both of their experiences. And it never allows Stephen to be portrayed as a "monster"--at worst, he is an angry and confused young man who has had to grow up too fast.

The same generous treatment applies to all of the characters in The Stardust Lounge--it is a book filled with people, never caricatures. And not just people, even the family dogs--Rufus, Buster, and GQ--who are central to the Digges family's ability to pull together, are at least as fully drawn as Stephen's older brother Charles, as Stephen's friend Trev, whom Deborah legally adopts, and as all the other humans who populate the book

And so, with all these fully-drawn characters inhabiting a book that careens through the most treacherous years of an urban boyhood, it could be completely wrenching to not know who is going to end up where--or if they're going to end up anywhere at all.

So in the interest of the humane treatment of readers, in this issue of Bold Type Deborah Digges looks back on the writing of The Stardust Lounge from the perspective of where she and all the book's many "characters" are now.

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