Williams, Johnny. “Klub Kids” (Volume 1), CreateSpace, 2014.
Partying in New York City
When one lost soul parties at the clubs in New York City, anything can happen. Johnny Williams takes us with him, as he looks for gay love among the sex and the wildness of the Big Apple where is just a little worm. He had not yet developed his sense of identity so he depends on friends to define him, which they are not so ready to do. He is something of a smart ass who is looking for his Mr. Wonderful and if not that a Mr. Wonderful for the night. Johnny, it seems, has little if any self-esteem and when he gets together with his friends, they have a great time and being there for each other. However, his friends score with the sexy and good-looking guys which makes him feel badly only because he has such a low idea about himself.
What I found interesting about this book is the characters; they propel the story and author Williams wrote about them in ways that make us care about them and this is what pulls us into the story. I actually felt that I knew characters as I read about them but that I have known them for a long time.
Johnny is androgynous and cute —we see that even if he doesn’t. We want him to find the man he is looking for and we feel what he feels when he doesn’t. He knows that the chances are slim that he will not find him in the club scene. What one usually finds at the club is a Mr. Right Now or a hookup. He wants to attract someone on his own merit but the kinds of guys that he attracts do not have much going for them—snarky drag queens, married guys looking for a quickie, bikers and so on. The good-looking guys go for Johnny’s good-looking friends. There were times that I wanted to shake him and say that he is as cute as everyone else and in order to find someone, he has to be at peace with himself.
I should have understood that Johnny and his friends were lacking in depth—what they really wanted was to have fun and hence they are “klub kids”.
Johnny who should a hero comes across as more of an anti-hero who tries to fit in and be as much like his friends as possible. Soon, all of the personalities seem to blend together and the sense of individuality is lost. However, there is a lot of humor here and it is impossible to relay that in a review.
I am pretty sure that a lot, if not all, of the story is autobiographical. It certainly feels that Williams is sharing his story with us and, like I said, there were times that I wanted to slap him or knock some sense into him. After laughing many times, I felt a bit sad that Johnny could not find what he was looking for. (Certainly he had to know that he was the blame for that and also that he is his own worst enemy.
The real beauty of the book is that we find ourselves in it and that there are times that Johnny comes across as a ‘everyman” kind of character who embodies a lot of the characteristics that the LGBT community holds as its own.
This is a brilliant debut for a young writer and if there are problems they come from lack of experience in writing. That will all change and one day we will be able to remember from where he started and be proud that he has reached a place of being successful at whatever he does. While this is a satire, it is important to remember that life too can be and often is satirical.