Raskin, M. Dylan
RASKIN, M. Dylan
Born in New York, NY.
Little New York Bastard (memoir), Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 2003.
Bandanas & October Supplies (memoir), Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2006.
M. Dylan Raskin is a New York-based writer and memoirist whose life and adventures have been compared to Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salinger's seminal antihero from the classic novel Catcher in the Rye. Raskin relates his exploits in the memoirs Little New York Bastard and Bandanas & October Supplies.
In his first book, Little New York Bastard, Raskin establishes his voice and character as an "angry, confused, malcontented young New Yorker," tired of the hypocrisy and vapidness he sees as endemic to life in the United States, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. The people who surround him infuriate him, as Raskin heaps scorn on everyone from Long Islanders to Nazis to people who talk too much and too loudly on their cell phones. Underneath this belligerence, however, lie fresh emotional wounds from the deaths of his dog and his father, emotionally traumatic events that fuel his misanthropic views. To escape, and against the advice of his mother, he abandons New York for a metropolis of similar heft, Chicago. There, he eventually realizes he has stepped into a situation and atmosphere that is just as bad or worse than the one he left. The Publishers Weekly reviewer pointed out that Raskin's story is thoroughly similar to the one told by Salinger, but that his "rendition manages to partially compensate for what it lacks in sophistication and originality with an overabundance of attitude and passion." Raskin's "blisteringly angry take" on the vagaries and banalities of American life "burns up the pages of this angst-driven road story," commented Shelley Cox in Library Journal. Cox also called Raskin's writing and narrative voice "strikingly original" and "unforgettable."
The passage of time does not bring about improvements in Raskin's situation, as he related in his second memoir, Bandanas & October Supplies. Here, he tells of his mother's misfortune as a victim of cancer, and describes his own difficulties in accepting the realities of his mother's fatal disease. He helps her as much as he can, taking her on extended day trips, arranging a vacation at an upstate lake retreat the family cherished while Raskin's father was alive, and trying to ease her condition. However, it is often she who reassures and comforts her depressed son. In the end, the cancer is victorious and Raskin is left only with his memories. The book "chronicles not so much a sequence of events as an overarching, universal emotional journey," observed a Kirkus Reviews contributor. A Publishers Weekly critic concluded: "Smart characterizations, sly digs at established writing … and an engaging voice distinguish this slender work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Raskin, M. Dylan, Little New York Bastard, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 2003.
Raskin, M. Dylan, Bandanas & October Supplies, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Bandanas & October Supplies, p. 77.
Library Journal, October 15, 2003, Shelley Cox, review of Little New York Bastard, p. 70.
Publishers Weekly, August 4, 2003, review of Little New York Bastard, p. 64; January 2, 2006, review of Bandanas & October Supplies, p. 49.
Seattle Weekly, September 29, 2006, Adam Sternin, "A Pissed-off Raskin," review of Little New York Bastard.
Los Angeles Alternative,http://www.laalternative.com/ (May 12, 2006), Jered Standing, review of Bandanas & October Supplies. *