Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker

I’d have never read Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School if it was not on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I think the biggest reason for this is that I feel a bit late for this kind of a book, and another reason is that I can never feel close to experimental texts. So again, I’m thankful for all the lists I’m following; they make me help discover different books and hear different voices from time to time.


Blood and Guts in High School - Kathy Acker

Blood and Guts in High School contains abundant sexuality (including pictures) and a lot swearing. Kathy Acker describes a lot of things through Janey; the narrative is scattered a lot of the times, and it is not easy to follow. After a while, I realized that this change was related to Janey’s state of mind.

Janey is a tough character, and we listen to her talking about her life between the ages of 10 and 14. Believe me, Acker’s experimental text doesn’t help us understand this girl. The first sentence of the book already indicates more or less what you will read from the very beginning. It can be an exquisite choice, especially for those who like to read experimental texts. But I’m very old for this kind of books now. Enjoy!

Blood and Guts in High School - Kathy Acker

Blood and Guts in High School

This is the story of Janey, who lived in a locked room, where she found a scrap of paper and began to write down her life. It’s a story of lust, sex, pain, youth, punk, anarchy, gangs, the city, feminism, America, Jean Genet and the prisons we create for ourselves. A heady, surreal mash-up of coming-of-age tale, prose, poetry, plagiarism and illustration, Kathy Acker’s breakthrough 1984 novel caused huge controversy and made her an avant-garde literary icon.

Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kathy Acker’s untimely death. Blood and Guts in High School is published for the first time in Penguin Classics. Acknowledging the profound impact she has had on our culture. And alongside the authors her work pulsates with the influence of: William S. Burroughs, Cervantes and Charles Dickens, among others.

Kathy Acker

Kathy Acker (April 18, 1947 – November 30, 1997) was an American experimental novelist, playwright, essayist, and so postmodernist writer. She was influenced by the Black Mountain School poets, so William S Burroughs, David Antin, French critical theory. Carolee Schneeman, Eleanor Antin, and by philosophy, mysticism, and pornography, as well as classic literature that she artistically plagiarized from.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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