In the Young Adult novel LOOKING FOR THE REAL THING, an L.A. high school
senior seeks a simpler future away from angry kids, stressed adults, monstrous
schools, everyday violence, massive traffic, bad air, junk food--seeking a
little peace, a little quiet, some connection to nature.
Quite a few teenagers feel alienated by pressure and stress from the relentless
competition pursued in the schools, on television, in the news, books, films,
radio, everywhere. Some kids are less worried about being left behind and more
worried about being run over. They are not slackers or rebels so much as
they are confused and looking for a way out.
Most teenagers never go to college. Many do not want to. Many
do not want to wear suits and ties or drive two or three hours commuting every
day. That does not mean they are lazy or gang members or delinquent or
stoners. Some kids do not feel right going along with a mean system they
do not like. Maybe they feel trapped. If such students are out there,
this book is for them.
As the specter of global warming looms ahead for us and our future children and
grandchildren, most people scramble for alternative energy sources to be able
to keep on doing what weve been doingonly minus the carbon. Most modern lives seem to me driven lives.
But that same old same old will not work any more. The recent book BIG
COAL: THE DIRTY SECRET IN AMERICAS ENERGY FUTURE by Jeff Goodell points out
that everything from trains to computers to satellites depends on coal. We
must change our way of life. Only a total slowdown can get us off carbon and
save future generations. And slowing down is not necessarily bad.
In LOOKING FOR THE REAL THING, the teen hero knows that rush you can get
from stress, but the side effects he feels and he sees, they make him back
off and hang back and chill out his situation. He is not with the heavy ambitions and hot desires and frustrations of so many of his
schoolmates. He wants a quiet life out of the rush, working with others who
want to make the world better.
describes his senior year:
"I'd loved Cleo since we were kids together.
We were the real thing, destined to be soul
mates. But in high school, Cleo decided she wanted
the good life. She thought I was crazy, wanting to leave L.A.,
where all the money is. I hated the choking smog, pollution, brutal schools,
gangs, killings, everybody uptight and meannever any peace and quiet. The mountains,
desert, beachesout there in the silence, my feet on the earthI could feel a
spiritual connection. Only Cleo vetoed our destiny
when she got pregnant by Westside
High's top jock. Then he restored my
faith by dumping her. I was the stepfather at the birth,
and I thanked God because I found a
place in the country where the three of
us could start life together. Then the baby's real father showed back up. Had God forsaken
LOOKING FOR THE REAL THING is published and distributed by