Zine Review: A Problem With Your Background

A Problem With Your Background: Real life problems of youth offenders
Richard Larios

A Problem With Your Background: Real life problems of youth offenders is a black and white US half-fold zine about how adults can be unfairly haunted by youth offences even decades later…

In A Problem With Your Background, Richard launches right into his story. This primarily text zine feels like it has one purpose: highlight how ridiculous the system is that can punish you so many years later (even though it’s not supposed to be able to do that with youth offences). Richard writes about difficult financial times that led to a job interview that would remind him that, unfortunately, with some companies he will never have to stop proving himself despite what he did as a teen.

I feel like this zine is a zine that exists to say “Hey, world! This happens, and it’s not right!” It’s an experience – a hard one to face and yet one so many people won’t realise even exists – printed out on a couple pieces of paper to speak to the world. I feel such a strong urge to pass this zine on so more people know. So more people can read about this and realise that, as horrible as this treatment is, this and worse happens every day.

As you may have noticed, this zine has me fired up. I’m angry and annoyed. I’ve always believed a writer’s job was to make the reader feel something, so in that, Richard has succeeded and then some. It’s a perzine with a punch, if you’ll allow the alliteration. And yet, I was impressed that this zine didn’t feel like the huge rant that it could have turned into with plenty more expletives and a lot more anger. But Richard writes effectively to the point.

This is one to pick up.

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