Please join us for a book discussion of Scar Boys by Len Vlahos with music by the Tiny Cover Band.
A boy. A band. A road trip. And a girl. All elements of a great rock ‘n’ roll novel, except there’s more: Harbinger (Harry) Jones, the eighteen-year-old protagonist, is severely scarred from a bullying incident. He’s the Scar Boy, and his story is told with great soul and depth by debut author Len Vlahos in THE SCAR BOYS.
In this coming-of-age novel set in the 1980s, Harry gives an account of his life in the form of a college-application essay. His first defining moment: at age 8, he is severely burned when the neighborhood goons tie him to a tree that is hit by lightning. He has had to live with physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness.
The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the charismatic Johnny rescues him from the bullies and then makes the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovers that playing music transports him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally has something that compels people to look beyond his physical appearance.
Harry’s description of his life and travels with the band is both humorous and heartbreaking. And like a soundtrack with a hard backbeat, THE SCAR BOYS is filled with references to music from the 1970s and 80s, from Bruce Springsteen to The Ramones, from the Stones to R.E.M. Harry has had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. This story was inspired by Len Vlahos’s experiences playing in a punk/pop band, the Woofing Cookies, in the 1980s. But as he states in the enclosed galley, the story belongs to Harry and his friends. “This is the story of every kid that has ever found happiness, confidence, and friends through music,” he says.
Len Vlahos is the Executive Director of BISG (Book Industry Study Group) and the former COO of the American Booksellers Association, where he worked for the past 20 years.
Chicago’s Tiny Cover Band (or TCB) plays their favorite hits on small instruments. They perform at barbecues, art events, festivals, literary readings, house parties, puppet shows, camp fires, weddings, fund raisers and fun raisers. Check them out on Facebook!