Blood and Guts in High School

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Aug 31, 2017 - Fiction - 176 pages

Janey undergoes, as if in a fairytale, a nightmare journey of exploitation - first incest, then abortions, a job selling cookies to the chi-chi bourgois of Brooklyn, a one-sided love affair with the leader of punk gang THE SCORPIONS, and finally is sold into the white slave trade in the middle east. Along the way she grapples with the cultural message of The Scarlet Letter, falls in love with Jean Genet, and angrily ridicules Erica Jong - the famous rich white face of 1970s feminism.

Pulsating with the influence of William S. Burroughs, the narrative is a patchwork mish-mash of prose, poetry, drama, literary plagiarism and illustration - childlike sexual drawings pepper the book, along with Acker's surreal, minutely detailed, annotated 'dream maps'. Exploring feminism, punk, the idea of the "literary canon" and the United States of America, Blood and Guts in High School has lost none of its power to shock.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2017)

Kathy Acker was born in 1948 and was raised in New York. In her twenties she broke ties with her family and worked as a stripper, while writing and publishing with the underground literary scene. She burst into the mainstream with Blood and Guts in High School, which caused a sensation upon publication in 1987 - the book was banned in several countries. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she abandoned Western medicine after a traumatic experience of surgery to treat the cancer, which was unsuccessful. She died in an alternative treatment centre in Tijuana, Mexico in 1997.

Her major novels include Blood and Guts in High School, Great Expectations, Don Quixote and Pussy, King of the Pirates. A collection of her emails with McKenzie Wark was published in 2015, titled I'm Very into You.

Bibliographic information