Bad Kid, David Crabb’s memoir of growing up gay in San Antonio during the 1990s is a hoot and a holler as we say in Texas. But it is so much more. Early on, he and his best friend Greg came out to each other. They hit the teen club circuit—Changez, Phazez, and Club FX. His BFF Sylvia proved his guide to the drug-fueled nightlife. His star-crossed crush on Max, a skinhead who is also a SHARK (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) is tenderly told, as is his devotion to his loving but confused parents, who relocate to smaller-town Seguin—“home to the biggest nut in the world.” Crabb masterfully mixes sad stories with comedy, embracing the reader with laughter and then delivering a sucker punch.
The photo album that accompanies the memoir includes Greg and David in “half-assed” drag. “For me The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a gateway to look and act like a freak and to meet other gays. It played at midnight at a theater out on 281. Going to those shows and sitting in the center of that insane energy was a real gateway for me into that culture.”
The more the coming-out story changes, the more it remains a human rite of passage. Crabb doesn’t apologize that his story isn’t going to cover everyone’s list of life-changing events: “All I can know is my own story. And this is it. Sans wigs.”