Our main character, known only as A, divides her time between a job and a relationship that are equally unfulfilling. Cryptic messages and fliers start showing up around town. Entire supplies of Kandy Kakes — a ubiquitous, chemically-engineered product that resembles a Hostess Cupcake — vanish from store shelves overnight.
At least, not yet.
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Before she knows it, A is acting out in ways that seem propelled by all of these influences. Who — or what — is gnawing away at our heroine?
Blame could be placed on her overbearing roommate, her emotionally disengaged boyfriend, or any factor of modern life: big corporations; the dissolution of urban centers; trash TV specifically or The Media, more broadly. Kleeman wisely leaves much to the interpretation of the reader. It is part amateur detective story, part modern horror, and tinged throughout with a restrained, never smarmy sense of humor. Moreover, A makes for a strikingly relatable heroine. As I write, a raucous party is blaring on across the street, in a tower in which I once hoped to buy a condo never happening now — thanks, inflated LA real estate market!
I also worked there for a notorious art dealer in the go-go 80s. Why am I bringing this up? In the old days, I would have got my rubber t-shirt and my freak on and rushed over to see what was happening.
Being a sucker for memoirs of privilege, especially as relating to the publishing world see Katharine Graham, Maeve Brennan, Caroline Blackwood, et. Buck seems to remain close to the Huston family; thank goodness for her. Both women were raised in incredible privilege, it is true. But, while Ms. Brown was more or less imported to be a captain of culture at the failing reiteration of Vanity Fair, with the negotiating skills of the same, Ms.
Buck was appointed the first American editor of Vogue France. Where Ms. Brown was rewarded with bonuses and care of her ailing parents for life, Ms. Buck was sent off to fake rehab and exile from Conde Nast. This is not to say that Ms.
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Buck did not make lemonade from her misfortune. After a further scourging from the company she trusted, she has remade herself into an actress, speaker on The Moth, and accomplished writer unfettered by corporate tentacles. I enjoyed her memoir even more the second time round, and admire both Ms. Buck and Ms. Brown for being incredibly strong, accomplished female voices. Me, I'll hang here with my dozy cats. Reading this book is like being blindfolded and led by the hand—round and round, over a hill, along a long, straight bit—then spun in a circle or two. But from page one, you trust no one more than Sarah Gerard to be the person holding your hand and guiding you.
This is a book of essays, but it parts from the immediacy of the essay form.
BRAVO, IFC & SUNDANCE IN PRIMETIME
Rather than gathering pieces than are temporally close to each other as most essayists seem to do , Gerard is comfortable letting her collection span the length of her entire life so far. Her essays are about widely-varying topics that seem often deeply unrelated; she writes about the tangled history of the Unity Church and growing up in it, about homelessness in St. Petersburg, about a bird sanctuary in the Florida Keys as it falls apart in slow motion. While Gerard herself is heavily present in some essays and nothing but a background figure in most, we get to see her voice grow and mature as she ages over the course of the collection— and this is absolutely where she is most brilliant.
She is wholly both, every step of the way, merely by shifting in subtle ways the tone of her voice. Because of this, we get to grow with her, and come to her understandings with her, and question things with her. A keen reporter and memoirist, Gerard invites us to be these things right along with her. Ah, fall. The perfect time of year.
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The trees change color, the first frosts appear, and the air smells like mulled wine. Okay, fine, this is Los Angeles. Fall — time to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte and maybe wear a sweater sometimes but only at night. For me, the best thing about fall was always seeing my best friend again. We have some incredible stories — like that one time we took acid together and she went skinny dipping, disappeared, and came back literally possessed by the devil. It could happen to anyone. Anyway, the real best thing about fall?
Is it children? Is it the restless, unholy spirits of the dead? This ghoulish offering from Grady Hendrix is like the grown-up Goosebumps book of your dreams… or the Baby-Sitters Club book of your nightmares. Fifteen-year-old Abby is going through the most horrible adolescent turmoil: not does this boy like me? She is. Like, totally. Brontez Purnell is something of a secret for now, but not one you're likely to keep. Seriously, ask your artist friends. They probably know about him already.
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They may have even attended a show by his queer punk rock band, or a performance art piece. So thank you to Feminist Press for making sure this voice doesn't get lost although Purnell strikes me as someone who is unbothered by such things and would write anyway, if ten people, or ten thousand read his words.
That's where booksellers come in, and trust us on this one - you should read this novel! Purnell's protagonist DeShawn is wickedly funny, unflinching, and honest, in that way that only people who have nothing else to lose can be. Having grown up in a small town, he kicked and scratched and crawled over the bodies of others to get out, making it all the way to a new life in San Francisco.
It's that call home for a death in the family that reminds him and by extension, us, that we'll always be that kid from Alabama, Kansas, etc, and that while we can reinvent ourselves any number of ways, somebody, somewhere - maybe an aunt or a secret lover, will always know the truth. This novel is truly a discovery and possibly outside of your own reading comfort zone, but in a volatile year like this one, perhaps it should be.
Transparency is rare. Embarrassment is real.
scanismolli.tk We are more alike than you think. Families are messy. Your body may someday betray you. Just because he's cute doesn't mean he's a catch.