Jonesing for a drive-in theater and a hotrod El Camino?
It’s the dawn of the 1970s and everything is changing. The war in Vietnam is winding down. So is the Apollo Space Program. The tiny northwestern city of Spokane is about to host a World’s Fair. But the Watergate Hearings and the re-entry of Skylab and the eruption of Mount Saint Helens are coming…as are killer bees and Ronald Reagan.
Enter ‘The Kid,’ a panic-prone, hyper-imaginative boy whose life changes drastically when his father brings home an astronaut-white El Camino. As the car’s deep-seated rumbling becomes a catalyst for the Kid’s curiosity, his ailing, over-protective mother finds herself fending off questions she doesn’t want to answer. But her attempt to redirect him on his birthday only arms him with the tool he needs to penetrate deeper—a pair of novelty X-Ray Specs—and as the Camino muscles them through a decade of economic and cultural turmoil, the Kid comes to believe he can see through metal, clothing, skin—to the center of the universe itself, where he imagines something monstrous growing, spreading, reaching across time and space to threaten his very world.
Using the iconography of 20th century trash Americana—drive-in monster movies, cancelled TV shows, vintage comic books—Spitzer has written an unconventional memoir which recalls J.M. Coetzee’s Boyhood and Youth. More than a literal character, ‘The Kid’ is both the child and the adult. By eschewing the technique of traditional autobiography, Spitzer creates a spherical narrative in which the past lives on in an eternal present while retrospection penetrates the edges. X-Ray Rider is not so much a memoir as it is a retro prequel to a postmodern life—a cinematized “reboot” of what Stephen King calls the “fogged out landscape” of youth.
Desi Warner is ready to end her life after an accident disfigures her face and destroys her modeling career. Instead, she goes back in time to 1974 to meet her destiny—R&B superstar Bernie Benson. Although her scars vanish, she and Bernie only have one month before a car accident will supposedly claim their lives.
The enigmatic singer ignites her senses, but her restored beauty is an illusion she can’t trust. Abandoned by his mother in childhood, Bernie has his own trust issues. Obsessed with completing his album, he’s just as hooked on his perfect singing career as Desi is to modeling.
Although they open each other’s eyes to different paths, change is not easy. When the fated day of the crash arrives, they must choose between life and perfection. A love that is deeper than perfect may be their only key to survival.