In a working-class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1957, eight mildly rebellious schoolboys, inevitably obsessed with sex, were attracted to the arrogant and thoroughly delinquent little Mickey Rooney whose fantastic dreams of Hollywood fame were to be his downfall.

It wasn’t a real gang, and it didn’t last long. It disintegrated after an obscene practical joke played by Mickey on the gang’s most vulnerable member. Meanwhile, though, the boys’ thoughts, conversations and actions, which were largely crude and obscene – as the thoughts, conversations and actions of boys and men often are – are faithfully reported here in plain and graphic language.

The book then follows the boys into manhood. Nine men. Nine lives involving love and romance, sadness and joy, success and failure, illness and death, drugs and vice, violence and crime, and murder.

Nine men with nothing in common but the teenage year they wasted in Mickey Rooney’s gang.


Robert Philip Bolton

Robert Philip is an independent New Zealand author. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1945. After a career in the advertising business he began freelance writing in 1983 and has been a self-employed writer ever since. Gradually he reduced his commercial writing to dedicate himself to his own writing, preferring to write and publish his own work which is mostly (but not only) about New Zealand and New Zealanders. He has travelled extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia, Britain (where he lived and worked), Europe, Asia and Japan, as well as the United States (where he worked in advertising). He says he loves all good writing from all eras. His other interests lie firmly in the arts: art, music, opera, ballet and the theatre. He plays the saxophone and the ukulele. On the other hand he also loves rugby league and has supported the Warriors since their foundation in 1995. He lives with his wife, who is also a writer, in Greenlane, Auckland. Robert welcomes comments and feedback and is happy to answer questions from readers and to speak about his writing and his books to schools, book clubs and writing groups within a convenient reach of Auckland.

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