Teeth by Hugh Gallagher


I have had this novel in my collection for sometime but, only recently decided to read it. It was an excellent book. It follows the life of a young writer who became quite well-known and famous in a circle of young adults in the alterantive sub-culture. The interesting thing is he is almost more famous for his teeth than he is for his writing.  Actually a good amount of his writing does have to do with his teeth, so its almost interchangeable. He is well-known for his teeth because he has a mouth full of broken teeth he got after a interesting incedent in his senior year of high school.

The book is about him searching for where to go in life. After moving to New York and working for his favorite magazine, it folds, everybody else begins to move on to new endeavors in life, while he still does not know where to go. Somehow his mouth full of teeth always come back to be the center of attention. The writing was excellent and reading about the alternative scene brought back memories. The writer used a lot of disguised cultural references from the 90’s to bring you back to that time. My favorite are the band Rage Against the Chilli Pepper, the obvious stand in for MTV The Channel, the teen magazine Bop Cheeze , and the music festival Chockapolacka. Gallager was able to completely capture the music, mood, and characters of that time.

However, with all the cultural references, crazy plot lines, bizarre characters and the main characters plight into the real world, the part of this book that hit a soft spot with me was Neils teeth problems. Having recently lost my front tooth in a extremely stupid concert incedent I feel for him and the hardship he has to go through with concern over his teeth. Not having much money instead of simply going through everything at once and fixing his teeth as his dentist recommends he waits for them to fall apart one at a time. He then must suffer through dentist visit after visit of root canals and extractions. Though my ordeal is not as serious, I was able to easily empathise with him and his struggles.

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