What the Hell Ever Happened to Yuri Rozhenko? By: Jeffrey Vernon Matucha


Seasoned club veteran and punk extraordinaire Skye Wright is working towards the straight and narrow with college and work when her life is upended after she loses her job. She deals with her life crisis by taking to the road, going up and down the West Coast of the USA, finding members of her tribe in Portland and Los Angeles. She makes her way through clubs and drugs, sex workers and gutter punks, illegal squats, dives, and raunchy punk clubs, all while looking for her long lost musician ex-boyfriend, the one who got away.


A perspective-broadening trip through a punker’s life in search of the one that got away.

Not Your Average Tale

Much like its punk characters, this story follows none of the traditional writing rules. There ain’t no happy ending, the language is broken and vulgar, the question in the title sparks the plot but the plot itself is entirely driven by the adventures of our main character Skye, and the ending isn’t predictable by any means. Matucha broke all kinds of writing rules with this story, and I don’t think the book would have been half as entertaining if he hadn’t.

Submerged in a Different Culture

“Can we get back to swelling vaginas?”

“Oh boy…Here we go!”
“Now what?”

“Now Onion’s gonna talk our ears off about vaginas.”

“She was gonna do that anyways.”

“I will only tell you about one: the ultimate vagina!”

That’s an excerpt from page 115, and an example of how unfiltered the language in this book is. But it also expresses so damn well the culture of the book. When you step into this novel, you’re stepping into the lifestyle of a punk rock ex-drug addict, and if your delicate sensitivities can’t handle vulgar language, curse words, vivid imagery, sex talk, or anything of the like, get out now.

To be honest, I LOVED how real and raw the story was. I loved how every turn of this page, every show she went to, every squat she stopped at, every house she bounced from, every twist and turn of this character put me in a place in reading I’ve never been before. Matucha LIVED this life and these scenes, so he wrote what he knows and did it damn well.

A New Perspective

I wouldn’t consider myself a spoiled brat for renting a decent place, working a retail job, never doing drugs, shopping at better brand stores, always having the money I need for things, or going steady. But damn, after reading the stuff these characters go through and seeing the lifestyle they lead, I feel like a diva.

Alleyways have always been terrifying, the junkies at the end enemies, Goths always rebellious brats, rockers always drug addicts and sex infested horndogs. I was raised to believe that through film and literature and just, parental overprotection. But in this book, Skye walks right down the alley and chats it up with the junkies who are old pals and they’re decent folks just struggling through life a different way than the rest of us. And Onion (a character in the latter part of the book) refuses to live the life I live because it feels like “prison”. Won’t even live in a solid place because being tied down is unfathomable. How interesting to see her perspective because when I met her, I pitied her for not having a home and job. But it’s her choice, and she LOVES it.

You always think drug addicts get into it for the same reasons: rebelling, peer pressure, for the attention. The same old shit movies force feed you to believe. But the truth is that some people (and I kind of knew this before the book) just LOVE that lifestyle. They love indulging their wild side with drugs, chaos, shows, all that stuff. They WANT to live that way, and no one has to pressure them into trying it or getting back into it. Skye chose what she chose, same as the rest of them.

This book had so many turning points in my mind like that. So many perspective-changing aspects to people and scenes and the lifestyles of others, and that’s WHY I read books to begin with.

Goodbyes Are Hard Dammit

The goodbyes in this book are weird. The whole point of the story is to find Yuri, you know? That’s why the title is what it is. But damn, when Skye leaves a place, there’s a state of depression I enter saying goodbye to it and all the memories we’ve shared there that I’ve never felt for ANY BOOK EVER before.

That and for the characters. I’ve never felt so attached to people in a story before. They all feel so real and so close, and I’ve never had to say goodbye to so many over the course of 172 pages. Nobody died, but damn, I mourn the departure from these characters the same. Even Skye feels this when she lingers, looking back.

Five Stars, Fuck It

I originally was only gonna give this book four stars because the editing kept the book from being five-star perfect, but you know what? Fuck perfection. Not that Matucha missed punctuation, messed up grammar, misspelled some shit, or forgot words on purpose. But it naturally added to the mood of the book in a way I can’t quite explain. I noticed the errors, but didn’t give a damn because I was so invested in the characters, was gladly lost in the setting that the flaws had no effect on my reading experience. Fuck it, this book is one I’m gonna read again and recommend a hundred times over and over. It deserves five stars for all the messed up beauty it is.

I cursed in this review when I normally don’t because it didn’t feel right not writing my thoughts how they came with this one. The book had no reserve for reality, and therefore my thoughts shouldn’t either. I loved this book, absolutely craved every page, finished it in a day. Dive into the life of this “punk extraordinaire” Skye Wright and dip a little into your wild side!

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