I just finished “How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater“, by Marc Acito.
I had no idea who Marc Acito was, and I knew nothing about this book other than the blurb in the Quality Paperback Book Club catalog, but I took a chance on it. Wow, wow, wow, did it pay off. What a great book.
The story takes place in 1983, and is about (and told by) Edward Zanni, a high school student in a little town outside Hoboken, NJ, and the cast of friends that surround him. Edward wants to be an actor, and wants to go to Julliard to study acting, but his father (now divorced from his flaky mother, who is purportedly off in South America somewhere getting spiritual) refuses to pay for school for him unless he studies business. Hijincks and shenanigans ensue. I won’t divulge details of the plot, or where some of these kids’ hare-brained schemes take them, but I will say that the story indeed features plenty of sex, theft, friendship, and musical theater.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this book for me is that I have absolutely nothing in common with any of the central characters (who actually seem, on the surface, to have little in common with one another), and yet I followed this story from start to finish, page by page, as if I knew every one of these people, and I was rooting for them. It’s a fun, funny, book, and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who went to high school (even if it wasn’t a high school outside Hoboken, NJ). I laughed out loud many times — Chapter 23 might be the funniest chapter I’ve read in a book in as long as I can remember — and I feel sorry for my next book, whatever it may be, because it’s got a tough act to follow.