Monday, March 21, 2005

My Life In Heavy Metal Pt. I (Pages 1-26)

When I saw some reader asked me to review Steve Almond's 'My Life In Heavy Metal', I assumed that said reader was a latent sadist, hoping to corral me into reading a book about said style of music and getting their kicks from picturing the horrible sufferings I would endure. For the book itself, I pictured some metalhead numbskull convincing some idiot editor, who harbors a sad sentimental attachment to the utterly meritless form, that enough heavy metal fans were actually capable of reading and made enough money where they could purchase a book; at least enough to warrant a marketable book about the subject. I was, of course, wrong. When I saw this book in the store, and after reading some of the reviews on the back cover, all about an author and book I was wholly unfamiliar, I began to fear a different type of sadist had recommended the tome. One who would realized my distaste for postmodern hipster scrawls written by assholes coasting on some sad delusion of Henry Miller grand passions to write books only enjoyed by other smug graduate students and morons who think reading a book for urban hipsters will make them seem more intelligent.

Oh wait, according to noted literary powerhouse Entertainment Weekly, the book is; 'An assured debut. Almond's unsparing viewpoint rarely makes for happy endings... He chooses instead to capture the often brutal miscommunication between the heart and the mind.' Someone from the Houston Chronicle (no, that isn't a joke, apparently there is someone at a newspaper in Texas that reviews books) writes; "These stories are rhapsodic without being false, and lustily comic." Hey, Tex, when does being rhapsodic indicate any type of falsehood?

Since my own reading is subject to great gaps between me sitting down and reading passages, interspersed with me doing other activities (i.e., attempting to pick up girls on the internet, staring at the wall, or going on long walks), not to mention hitting the keyboard and trying to craft a coherent review of the book when I have finally polished it off. I'm trying something new, I'm going to review portions of the book, as I finish each individual passage.

What's happened between page before page 1 and page 26;

After three pages of 'rhapsodic' reviews from various fuckfaces/book reviewers, a sentimental dedication to the writer's Grandparents (is that type of shit really necessary?), the legal stuff, and really ugly typeface on the table of contents, the book, like too many books, opens with a quote from someone else that apparently may add something to what is to follow. This one is from the Song of Songs. I will write it, but the act of typing such sentiments makes me want to chew my fingers off.

I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking.

I resisted the urge to throw this book in the trash right then and there. I hate love. I despise it. It's a vile horrible, largely non existent and misinterpreted emotion whose perception that is responsible for far more pain, suffering, and death then the momentary happiness that occasionally befalls people. If love was a person, I would find him and back over him with my '92 Toyota Camry.

So yeah, onto the summary...

The author, or narrator, or whoever the fuck is writing first person. I don't know if it's autobiographical or not. Narrator talks about great sexual experience with an attractive object of overwhelming sexual desire while in college. Q: Was it graduate school? A: Don't remember... Q: What does she see in him? A: Don't know. He moves to the desert, lusts after a female lifeguard. Former sex partner moves in with him, they live together, while the narrator has an affair with the lifeguard, who female ejaculates like nobody's business. Narrator lies about ejaculator to the lover he lives with. All the while, the Narrator begins attending to, and enjoying, and following the worst kind of horseshit heavy metal you can picture. This starts as a work assignment for the newspaper he works for, but devolve? mutates? into actual enjoyment. He blows off his lover/roomate, who is apparently very much in love with him and want him to go as her date to her best friend's wedding, to attend a Guns 'N Roses concert with Miss Ejaculate. He fucks her on his bed at home, and his lover arrives, sitcom style, right when she is squirting all over the bed the other two used to share in some semblance of domestic bliss. He skeddadles to follow her an apologize, the lifeguard hits the road, and when I closed the book, nothing much was happening.

Okay, now for critical thoughts, evaluations, etc.

First off, the prose is, um, nice. It's descriptive, moves along at a healthy clip, doesn't get bogged down too much, and lacks the pretension and preciousness I expected. It's not going to be a chore to get through this book, and for that much I am thankful. However, before I start clapping and make noises with my mouth like a seal, I'm getting the feeling this is going to be one of those books where the writer relates stories about all the girls he's fucked, a genre of literature that gets tiring mighty quickly. While it isn't yet to the level of those books where an older gentlemen describes the various youngthings with loins of nitroglycerin who lust after the writer, a fatass middle aged men who spends most of his time in front of a keyboard (notice how this subject is not often tackled by youngthings with loins of nitroglycerine), I can easily picture that occurring. I'll have to wait and see. Since most writers are the types of people that no female would willingly go to bed with, in general, grand passions and romantic liaisons and open natural sexual promiscuity as occurs to an irresistible writer literature is often quite problematic. This, like I mentioned, hasn't occurred yet. But for now... Yeah, better then I assumed, but not a book that knocks my dick in the dirt (why can't they put blurbs like that on the cover?).

And now, for some other stuff: it's hard to feel sympathy for this asshole, when is cheating on one girl, and misleading the other one. While most guys have made horrible discussions dictated by their dicks (I have made what would probably be horrible decisions, had any of the females complied and been coconspirators with my cock) if he's looking for a shoulder to cry on, he's not welcome on Mister Phil Honolulu's meaty shoulder, dig? Maybe because when I was in college, which, in a rare show of optimism, I pictured as a bohemian enclave where girls would look past little things like a repulsive physical appearance, a poisoness attitude, and implacably grim attitude (exacerbated by how horrible college actually ended up being), to want to engage in some grand passionate love affairs with the likes of yours truly, I couldn't get a date to save my life. You see what optomism gets you? Maybe that has embittered me, and made me so jealous that when Almond breaks out the man-hanky, I want to laugh heartily at his pain. But maybe not, perhaps Almond is just kind of a dickhead, and self centered (a writer? self centered? say it ain't so!) enough where the pain he knowingly inflicts on people that care about him, while eliciting remorse, is not enough to prevent him from doing so. Another problem: he likes heavy metal. While he does explain it in more intellectual terms than a; Q: what do you like about heavy metal? A: that it ROCKS!!!!!!, and thankfully didn't flea-dip in the irony tub and mention that he likes it for whatever camp bullshit reason (he actually likes it out of theatrical experience, the shared sensation with 13 year old mustached social misfit enpowered by big riffs and homoeroticism), he still really likes heavy metal. That's like being in NAMBLA. It's like being a nazi. It's like being a contemporary slave owner. It's hard to take anyone seriously that it a fucking metalhead, because metalheads are horrible people.

Anyway, next time I polish off a portion I'll be back with more.

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