Discover more from A Book For Ants: Bite-Sized Reviews of Snack-Sized Books
THE PEPSI-COLA ADDICT by June-Alison Gibbons
Okay, stick with me here. Back in 1983, groove metal/thrash/punk band Suicidal Tendencies burst onto the scene with their single Institutionalised. Later to become one of the defining songs of the decade, it tells of a teenaged kid who ends up in an institution because his mum won’t give him a Pepsi. The whole thing is absurd and hilarious. It also might well have been inspired by this 1981 cult classic by one of the legendary Gibbons twins (look them up, it’s wild).
The Pepsi-Cola Addict is a gloriously hot mess of a book, full of youthful exuberance (or maybe just caffeine), delightfully terrible high school writing and a plot so over the top you can’t help but love it. Written when Gibbons was only 16, it tells of Preston Wildey-King, a teenager with a Pepsi addiction that causes his life to spiral out of control. From sexual misadventures with a teacher, to robbing stores, to juvie, to abuse by a warden, to violent crime, forlorn love and a whole lot more, this is a bonkers (if a bit crap) supernova of a book. And, as someone who downs 2.5L of Pepsi Max a day, it felt wonderfully validating.
The Pepsi-Cola Addict by June-Alison Gibbons
Strange Attractor Press, 2023 (First published 1981)