Bolt Risk

( 2 )

Overview

Charles Bukowksi, Hubert Selby Jr., and Denis Johnson are familiar names in the literature about the druggies, rockers, criminals, and whores who habituate the dark side of American fiction, but there are few women writers in the club. Enter Ann Wood, an award-winning journalist who’s been down and out and survived to laugh it off. With a frighteningly matter-of-fact style and no social agenda, Wood is an American original who writes like a female Charles Bukowksi: crude, rude, and raw; often very funny, ...

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Overview

Charles Bukowksi, Hubert Selby Jr., and Denis Johnson are familiar names in the literature about the druggies, rockers, criminals, and whores who habituate the dark side of American fiction, but there are few women writers in the club. Enter Ann Wood, an award-winning journalist who’s been down and out and survived to laugh it off. With a frighteningly matter-of-fact style and no social agenda, Wood is an American original who writes like a female Charles Bukowksi: crude, rude, and raw; often very funny, sometimes shocking, disarmingly poignant, and incredibly readable.

In a story with parallels to the author’s own life, Bolt Risk is an unapologetic bildungsroman about a young woman from an exclusive New England college who becomes a personal assistant, otherwise known as a “paid butt-wiper,” to a Hollywood sitcom star. Fleeing the boredom of the tinsel town fringe, she lands a job as an exotic dancer and falls for Adam, lead guitarist of the popular thrash band Z, six feet four inches of raw talent, stud beauty, and unrestrained ego. Thus begins a droll and harrowing ride through the underworld of Los Angeles strip clubs, dive bars, and drug motels that sends her to a mental hospital, where she is astutely classified as a “bolt risk,” a kid who is very likely to escape. Here the author re-creates the absurd daily world of Girl, Interrupted with a remarkable toughness that laughs in the face of institutional horror.

Ann Wood writes like few women before her. If Charles Bukowski had been a woman, Bolt Risk might have been his first novel.

Ann Wood graduated from Bennington College before heading to Hollywood, where she became an exotic dancer. She is currently a newspaper staff reporter and first-place winner of the New England Press Association Award for Arts and Entertainment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A bildungsroman for the MTV generation, Wood's debut features plenty of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, described in a too-cool-for-school monotone. The slight plot begins as the unnamed protagonist, a personal assistant (aka "paid butt-wiper") to a B-list Hollywood actress, bids farewell to her boss and meets the hard-rocking man of her bad-girl fantasies, Adam. Over conversations about Freud and Gauguin, the pair fall in love, eventually pledging commitment in a satanic marriage ceremony. Soon, Adam's traveling with his successful heavy metal band, while she fills her time working as a stripper, snorting lines of speed and looking for "orgasm-distraction." Love inevitably turns to hate, and she winds up in a mental institution. But, as she comes to realize, "living in hell feeds the creative process." Welcomed as voyeurs, readers are given an insider's look into the subculture created by the smart and talented who arrive in L.A. with big dreams and wind up with big addictions. Privileging shock over style, Wood gives her protagonist deadpan lines like "He was corny, but I was horny." But behind the sometimes awkward prose lies a genuine sentiment that speaks to alienated teenagers, world-weary hipsters and cynical survivors of all stripes. Like Go Ask Alice, this tell-all tells much about what it sometimes takes to survive. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
You have to hand it to good girls: When they go bad, they work hard at it. They don't just try drugs, they take every drug, and they don't just get depressed, they get themselves committed and compare themselves to Sylvia Plath when they get electroconvulsive shock therapy. The first-person narrator is a smart, sullen and difficult young woman. Her mother died when she was young, and her father, a dashing actor, disappointed her in the standard ways (never having enough time for her, never really understanding her, never loving her enough). After graduating from an exclusive New England college, where no one really understood her either, the narrator moves to the West Coast where she works as a personal assistant to an anxious B-list actress. She marries an up-and-coming rock star and gets a job as a stripper (a profession once shared by the author). She drinks, takes drugs, is committed to a mental hospital, gets an abortion, undergoes shock therapy and escapes to begin the cycle again in Seattle. If this seems like a lot of activity for such a young woman, and for such a slender volume, it is, but the frenetic pace of the sstory is offset by what is at times almost hypnotically spare prose. Shorn of the melodramatic adjectives and fascinated self-analysis of the usual tortured-young-woman novel, Wood's language is often bracingly frank. The sometimes reportorial-style storytelling seems mannered, as if the author is straining to unite a dazzling individuality with a self-conscious crudeness. The stylized smartness of the narrator can seem intrusive and a bit pretentious, as when she compares her time in a mental institution to being sent to Dachau. These kinds of glib comparisonsundercut the text, giving it the air of a writing-workshop exercise. The tale is threaded with admirably sharp prose and has a controlled, deliberately jagged pace, but the deliberateness of its own edginess sometimes gets the better of it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972898461
  • Publisher: Leapfrog Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,260,081
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Ann Wood graduated Bennington College before heading to Hollywood where she made her living as a personal assistant to a sit-com star and an exotic dancer. Currently a staff reporter for the Provincetown Banner she is the winner several New England Press Association awards.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Great book! A definite must read, super funny and great characte

    Great book! A definite must read, super funny and great character. I highly recomend it to anyone who wants a fun edgy and exciting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2005

    don't miss this one.

    I was lucky enough to recieve a preview copy of this book and it's a must read!! It's edgy, compelling, disturbing, funny, and overall riveting. It opens a window on another side of life. Highly recommended by me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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