What I Did In My Holidays Essay

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What I Did In My Holidays Essay, Research Paper What I did in my holidaysThere are some things that 17-year-old boys should not be able to do. They should not, say, be able to introduce themselves to girls that they believe they are in love with without their words coming out all together in a madman’s gibber. They shouldn’t be able to walk away from an argument sensibly persuaded of the other point of view. They shouldn’t be able to avoid cutting themselves shaving before big nights out. And they shouldn’t be able to write exceptional satirical novels. Effortlessly. In their summer holidays. And have them published in nine languages. Nick McDonell, now 18, is the author of Twelve, a smart, sharply written fable of drugs and violence among New York’s gilded youth.

Hunter S. Thompson has suggested that he is afraid that with this book McDonell will do for his generation what he did for his. Richard Price, the author of Clockers, has identified in him the ‘Great Gift: the ability to tell a story, in such a way, that once engaged, the reader will find it near impossible to put the book down.’ There have been a few precedents for McDonell’s precociousness: Scott Fitzgerald was 21 when he wrote This Side of Paradise; Bret Easton Ellis 18 when he wrote Less than Zero. But still. The original date we set for this interview had to be changed because it clashed with the author’s high-school graduation. When I do get to see him he is looking a little bleary having been up for the couple of nights since his prom. He’s chucking a baseball

against the wall of his mother’s apartment block, in one of the most exclusive corners of Upper Manhattan, on the waterfront. His hair flops over his brow, he has a teenager’s complexion and he says hi with the slight weariness of someone quickly getting used to press attention. Interview magazine wanted to dress him up in a tweed suit, he says. Details wanted him to take off his shirt. The New Yorker described him as a ‘ruthless observer of clothing: North Face, Quiksilver, Prada and Coach’. I tell him that The Observer is happy for him to wear whatever he likes. We walk down to the river and he points out some of the sights: the 59th Street bridge on which or about which Paul Simon felt groovy; and the two most expensive – ‘the toniest’ – private girls’

schools in the city. When his parents split up a few years ago and his mother moved up here, he thought it might be good for meeting rich girls, he says with a nice teen sense of priority, but so far it hasn’t really worked out that way. He speaks with a kind of forced assertivemess to overcome some natural shyness, poses not quite reluctantly for some pictures, suddenly drops an empty Budweiser bottle into the Hudson. We could, he suggests, go up to his mother’s apartment and talk there ‘but it’s a very grown-up kind of place’, not like his dad’s place a few blocks away, where he spends half his time, and which, he guesses, is, like, not so grown-up at all. We go to the park. Nick McDonell was probably born to be a writer. His father, Terry, was a celebrated editor

of Rolling Stone magazine, and Esquire, and is currently the editor of Sports Illustrated – perhaps, his son suggests, the best job in the world, at least for getting tickets. (To prove the point he’s off to see Shaquille O’Neal in the basketball play-off finals after our interview.) His mother, Joanie, is a novelist and screenwriter. Morgan Entrekin, his publisher, and owner of Atlantic Books, is also his godfather. At the American launch party for Twelve, Entrekin announced that he had known Nick since he was 48 hours old. Hunter S. Thompson, it turns out, is an old family friend, and so are P.J. O’Rourke and Joan Didion and Jay McInerney and almost every other writer whose name comes up. ‘So,’ he says, ‘it’s like I’m on top of this monstrous fucking mountain