This installment: incredibly candid, outrageous essays (nf); a gay couple’s adoption travails (nf); and a mind-blowing graphic artist (f).
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby
Irby is African-American and she tells it like it is: some disabilities, a job in an animal hospital, relationship lurches until she meets Mavis, and deep resistance to the great outdoors. She watches trashy TV shows, eats junk food, and offers up very candid descriptions of sexual misfires. She also blogs— bitchesgottaeat.com. These are outrageous essays that manage to bristle with humor while reflecting the soul of self-revelation. Some material made me squirm, some wore me out, but it was worth it.
A Song for Lost Angels by Kevin Fisher-Paulson
He’s a policeman. His husband is a dancer. They wanted children and got them in spades by fostering severely at risk newborn triplets. What a rocky road, what dedication, and (spoiler alert) ultimate heartbreak when the birth family and nightmarish social workers and judges decided that the likes of them, i.e. gay men, weren’t fit to be parents. Eventually they got two sons and I faithfully follow their ups and downs in Kevin’s weekly Chronicle column. Sometimes sentimentality or cuteness in the telling clashed with my snooty literary taste but I put up with it so I could experience their heartfelt and courageous spirit.
Hand-drying in America and Other Stories by Ben Katchor
He’s a Katchor in the Wry (I couldn’t resist that), this amazing graphic artist who has a sensibility like no other. Each bright large-format page offers a revelation into stuff you might never notice, like the difference between the sounds of American and European garbage collection or the potential uses of that space under the bed. The names of his characters and enterprises are also grotesquely witty, like the Yamsa Hotel, or (in the past library of unread books), “Carniola, Now and Then, by Ernst Hoopla.” It’s heady reading — a rare opportunity to experience a very original mind.
Back next week.