b r u t a l y o u t h
b r u t a l y o u t h
a twisted coming-of-age novel
Anytime Stephen King lays down words, I’m there to buy them — but I won’t be able to repay him for these ones:
“If you thought high school was hell, has Anthony Breznican got a story for you … Every bully who stalked you, every sadistic teacher who ever terrified you, every stupid prank, every hopeless crush and false friend: they’re all here, along with a few kids who hang together and try to do the right thing in a brutal environment. By turns funny and terrifying, Brutal Youth is an unputdownable tour-de-force, a Rebel Without a Cause for the 21st century.”
This means so much to me, and not only because his name means so much …
Stephen King is the writer who inspired me when I was a kid to pick up a pen and start scribbling stories in spiral notebooks. About 25 years later, I finally had one worth showing to him.
When a debut book is coming out, the first-time author has to start reaching out to other more established writers who might be willing to read and (if they like it) vouch for your story by providing a blurb for the dust jacket.
Even after King let me send him the book, I tried not to get my hopes up. He gets asked for a lot of favors, and although he’s a notoriously nice guy, I knew my book had to do the heavy lifting and actually earn his time.
About a week after he started it, I got an email from him with the simple subject line: “Blurb.”
On my desk right now is this old paperback of Pet Sematary. It’s the one my grandmother bought for me in 1989 when no one I knew would take me to see the movie. I read that book, and thought: I want to do this. I want to write like this man.
To get an email from him saying: “I loved the book. You could have a future in this business” … My only regret was that my grandmother wasn’t around anymore. She’d have loved this.
Not everyone who achieves success thinks of the people climbing up the ladder behind them, especially far, far below them — the ones who are practically out of sight. But in this case, a very big author reached out his hand to a very small fry like me. I’m not the only one. He’s done it before. But that’s what makes him so special: the scariest man in the world also happens to be one of its most generous.