Throwback Thursday: The Prologue was originally posted at “A Reintroduction: The Prologue” on August 18, 2017. I wrote the prologue of Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up two summers ago on a prep in between summer school classes. I had just recently watched Dead Poet’s Society, and, as I wrote in the September 2, 2014 post “Rediscovering my Protagonist in ‘Dead Poet’s Society'” it inspired me:
Once I was done with the kids (or maybe a bit before), I roughed out a draft where I focused on establishing the narrator’s (and protagonist’s voice). My intention was to draw the audience in by revealing the death of the protagonist’s best friend. The circumstances of his death are shrouded in mystery by design; the last thing I wanted was to paraphrase the story the audience is about to get into.
‘DPS’ is the quintessential substitute teacher go-to movie in high school, and it reminded me of the innate sense of rebellion in teenagers that originally inspired (and continues to inspire) ‘Knowing When You’re Too Young To Grow Up’.
The book is so much more than bitching and complaining and belly-aching about the plight of a high school kid whose life is devoid of responsibility and privileged in every way.
While that’s part of ‘Knowing When’, it’s not the whole story. It is the anatomy of teenage angst, from the protagonist’s upbringing to his history with his friends and the secrets they keep from each other to his choices and the consequences they yield.
I killed my best friend, not with a gun or a knife or a car or a bomb or a poison, but he died and I lived and it was all the same in the end.
He didn’t know until it was too late. And I guess I didn’t either at first, failing to consider that my actions could so adversely affect him, could eventually destroy him. But they did. And that’s really the only thing that matters here.