Coming-of-age stories have always been popular and are often times found on many reading lists, whether those lists are online for the public or personal for an individual reader. Many, if not all, coming-of-age stories take readers through a journey of a child reaching that moment of adult-like maturity, thus having readers relive what it was like turning into an adult. However, how many of these stories will take readers back to childhood and have them relive their own childhoods again? British writer Matteo Sedazzari takes readers on such a journey in his debut A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod.
A young boy growing up in Sunbury-on-Thames during the 1970s is eager to get into mischief when life is proving to be rather dull. Yet, even when life seems to be turning against him, the discovery of mod unleashes an inner passion he never knew existed. Moving across the river to Walton-on-Thames with his family in 1979, he discovers more Mods of all ages and is able to make friends while also gaining confidence in who he is as a person. As the young boy grows up being a Mod, his passion allows him to view the world in a not-so-dull light while also allowing him to discover who he truly wants to be.
For a debut, Sedazzari has most certainly left a memorable impression with a story that readers from any background and any culture will find themselves enjoying. It is a new addition to pulp fiction, making for a quick read, but even though it is categorized under fiction, it almost reads like a non-fiction story. This element, along with not giving his main protagonist a name, makes Sedazzari’s debut incredibly clever for it makes the story seem like it is about Sedazzari himself or even, at times, about the life of whoever is reading it.
Before the story even begins, Sedazzari tells the readers that the editing mistakes within his story are intentional, for the story is being told from his protagonist who is a young boy and who is still unfamiliar with grammatical accuracy. This may come across to readers as a way for the writer to get out of editing, but that is not the case at all. Sedazzari’s note and the story being told in the first person actually adds to the reader’s overall experience, making the fiction seem incredibly realistic.
A unique aspect about Sedazzari’s debut is that every reader will re-experience discovering his or her passion. Every person on this Earth has a passion for something and that passion is discovered at some point in a person’s life. It can be discovered at a young age, like Sedazzari’s protagonist, or later in adulthood, but regardless of when a person finds his or her passion, that passion, whatever it may be, changes his or her life forever. Sedazzari’s protagonist discovers his passion at a young age: the musical group, The Jam. Due to his love for the band, he discovered the Mod culture and, therefore, discovered himself by becoming a Mod.
A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod is a wonderful new addition to any bookshelf written by a talented new writer. It is short, well-written, and will reach out to any reader who picks it up. It is easy to follow and understand (especially for readers who are unfamiliar with Mod culture or even culture in Britain) and will help readers rediscover why they are who they are. Coming-of-age stories focus more on a child entering adulthood, but rarely do the stories take older readers back to their own childhood to remember what they were once passionate about. Children wish to grow up quickly, but when children become adults, all they wish for is to go back to being a child again. Through the written word, Sedazzari encourages readers to find or rediscover their passion and to keep their inner child alive, for that passion and inner child work together to help motivate and make people the adults they are meant to be.