A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich – Book
Peter had a rough life growing up. His lousy home life and abusive parents led him to leave home for a life on the streets at age 15. Not too long after that, his younger brother followed him and they both were out on the streets fighting to get by and eventually abusing drugs. Peter eventually grew sick of the streets and wanted a better life for himself, cleaned up his act, got married and was on the road to finally becoming a little bit successful.
A phone call from his family changed all that. They called to inform him that his younger brother had passed away, most likely due to a drug overdose. You see while Peter managed to get himself clean and off the streets, his brother didn’t. This news immediately sent a rush of rage and emotion through Peter and opened up a flood of memories from the past as he tried to deal with the how and why of losing his brother and what he was going to do about it.
This becomes the basis for A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich. Peter tells the story of his brother’s death and the tidal wave of rage and emotion it opens up in him. It alternates between present day dealing with the events of his death along with flashbacks of his life on the streets. The stories intertwine together perfectly and you can see the how basis of his current rage and hatred towards the rich stemmed back to the life on the streets, discovering punk rock, drug abuse and violence. As the book progresses, it seems like Peter is going to regress back into the person he was out on the streets.
The presentation of these stories is where this book really shines. Peter’s narrative and writing style not only allow the reader to get a vivid picture of what’s happening, but to feel every bit of emotion he did in the stories. In reading this, you can almost hear the anger come off the page in many scenes, just as you feel as sad as he does over his loss. You also can feel a little tired of hearing how the rich are responsible for all the world’s problems including the death of his brother, just like his wife and friends were. At times you may think it’s a cop-out, an easy way to point the blame anywhere else but one’s self, but having not endured the life of the author and his brother, my outlook on life isn’t quite the same despite my similar interest in punk rock.
The theme of punk rock was pretty minimal in the book as it wasn’t the story being told, it merely was the basis of some of his theories as well as scenery for the much bigger story of a man coming to grips with a terrible loss and how it makes him question his decisions and his life in general. It also is a tale of a man coming to terms with the decisions he has yet to make. The book is equal parts heart wrenching and though provoking and occasionally disturbing.
At 188 pages, it wasn’t a very long read, made only shorter by the fact that it is so gripping, it was really hard to put down. If I could find any fault with this book, it would only be that I wish there was more stories told from the past as I was completely fascinated by the ones that were shared in this book. I give this my highest possible recommendation and I’m even pestering my girlfriend to read it and hopefully make her book club do the same!