Review of Shampoo Planet


From The Glasgow Herald (April 17, 1993)

by Allan Brown

The follow-up to Douglas Coupland's acclaimed slacker-culture diary Generation X, Shampoo Planet finds the author striving to capture the same frisson of adolescent cockiness that illuminates novels like Catcher In the Rye. His hero Tyler Johnson is an affluent, precociously bright twentysomething given to intellectualising his fascinated relationship with consumerism - the pristine meaninglessness of hotel rooms, the inscrutability of computer software; anything to avoid the gushing homilies of hippydom as represented by his Woodstock-leftover mum Jasmine.

"We used to call her Earth Mother. But more often than not we just say earth to mother . . . earth to mother . . . " He dreams of a career with Bechtel, the arms manufacturers his mother once firebombed. But when ex-flame "Princess" Stephanie returns from Europe, his cultivated faade collapses into something approaching that dangerous thing, real feeling, as the pair plunge into the hideously real milieu of urban-gothic American darkness.

The chronicler of the no-past, no-future, know-nothing generation has microwaved up a chili-nachos of a novel, packed with killer one-liners, hot and sticky with guilt and glee.