'Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight'

The characters in Dave Newman’s novel "Please Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight" are a very long way from finding harmony.



Lou Reed famously penned these lines about our fair city: “There is only one good thing about a small town / You know that you want to get out.” He was writing specifically about Andy Warhol, but the desire to escape the limited vistas, the hemmed-in and narrow streets, the hometown skyline that is so familiar that it has become oppressive is a universal one.

I can remember watching as my friends from high school, one by one, bid their adieus to the Steel City, and I keenly felt the yearning to join them in their exciting new lives far from here. Eventually, whether we leave or stay, most of us make our peace with our hometowns.

The characters in Dave Newman’s novel Please Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight are a very long way from finding this kind of harmony. Dan and Matt are a couple of 17-year-olds just barely making their way through high school in the late 1980s. Their main concerns are heavy metal, skipping class, drinking cheap brews and raiding the medicine cabinets of their friends’ parents.

They are the residents of your typical teenage wasteland until Matt gets his girlfriend, Susan, pregnant. In their panic, Matt and Susan bring the problem to Dan, who decides the only solution is to rob the paint store where he works and use the money to pay for an abortion. No one questions Dan’s logic.

Matt said, “Unbelievable.” He sat up and found a beer. He popped the top and drank. He looked like someone had shoveled fuel back into the engine of his body. He said, ‘I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.’”

“I know,” Dan said, though I easily could have said, “I really appreciate this.’” This: The chance to become a criminal. This: The chance to pay for an abortion. That’s how it was, being 17. Things spun backward and got confused.

Dan is looking for a way out. His parents are scraping by in low-paying jobs they don’t like in an economy that has yet to trickle down. His home life is marked by the instability and eruptions of violent arguments that money worries bring.

The opportunity to step outside this familiar world into the realm of the criminal sounds pretty cool to Dan. His primary points of reference for dealing with the very adult concerns now thrust upon himself and his friends are the Hollywood action movie and the quasi-literate lyrics of Motley Crue and Guns & Roses.

Newman does a nice job of depicting teenage aimlessness. The bulk of the book follows Dan and Matt as they tool around town avoiding the problem of Susan’s pregnancy altogether. These scenes where the boys drink and carouse, and attempt to put off adulthood feel the most real.

In contrast, the crime element of the novel, which disappears almost entirely until the last few pages, seems contrived and tacked on—an unnecessary pulp gambit that actually distracts from a fine character study.


Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight by Dave Newman; World Parade Books; $10.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

A Pittsburgh preservation group says there are approximately 30 unused churches in Allegheny County.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Executive Chef Ben Sloan will offer a festive, eat-with-your-hands spread on Tuesday nights.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

Married couples talk hashtags — and why they used them at their weddings.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

The Carnegie Museum of Art’s new exhibit features the works of architect Arthur Lubetz and Front Studio, including the vibrant Glass Lofts Building in Garfield.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments