Set in the suburban shadows of New York City as the 1980s crash into the ’90s, The Punk and the Professor brings us into the troubled world of a young introvert. Jack Tortis is an underdog branded as a punk in a place where sameness is celebrated. Destined to be a drop out laborer like his estranged father, he clings to hope and fights against a tide of dysfunction. But just as life starts to move along, obstacles spring up around him. In his way are apathetic teachers and principals, an abusive stepfather, and the drugs, ignorance, and violence that plague his town. In a battle for survival, Jack is faced with three options–fight his way through school, be lucky enough to enter the world of service labor, or fall into a street life of crime and drugs.

Where we end up in life is often too predictable–but sometimes an opportunity comes along that changes our fate, and sometimes it takes starting all over again to get it right. The story of the punk is framed by a professor reciting an ancient tale that inspires us to question all we think we know, to consider an alternative truth, and distinguish reality from illusion.
Available on Amazon

“A great ode to troubled youth.”

Five Star Review on Amazon By Taylor Thomas

“The Punk and the Professor” by Billy Lawrence is a masterful tale, written sophistically and a great coming of age tale. This novel is about Jack, a troubled youth with a not-so-great family and a school who really doesn’t care. The child of teen mom and a nonexistent father, Jack has it hard in life. College is a foreign concept to him. Jack really reminded me of Bender from “The Breakfast Club.” Jack smokes, does drugs, and of course drinks. Lawrence captures Jack’s perspective in this tale of a troubled coming of age.

Each chapter reads kind of like a short story in itself, which at first, took a little time to get used to but as soon as I read a couple of chapters, I got used to Lawrence’s unique storytelling.

About the Author

Writer, professor, consultant. Author of The Punk and the Professor (2017). Education & social researcher. Lover of music & movies.

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