Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Internet Book # 2 -To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him

Gwen Zepeda

This is a collection of memoir kinds of pieces, personal essays and short stories and cartoons and, you know, things. It's animated by Gwen's viciously powerful voice, her sharp opinions, her reality kind of, and it is at its best when it is not reproducing or rewriting entries she's posted her website, or her slightly strange and slightly rough stories, but when she's telling her own personal story.

It started strong, and powerful and like a memoir, and it was a pleasure to read, and then it seemed to become reprints or rewrites from her website, and then it became short stories which were, at their best, really imaginative and at their worst, not particularly compelling.

She's funny and she's candid and she's fierce and she's angry and her voice is really amazing, when she harnesses it. But this felt disappointingly like a mishmash – like she was scrambling to get material together when she was offered a book contract. I would have preferred something not safely homogeneous, no, but something with some kind of internal logic, some kind of organizing principle that made sense. Maybe that is a weird thing to want from a book. Maybe it is weird to want someone to have given you their life story.

Her next project is a novel and I am looking forward to that, because while I was really frustrated with this book and its jumping and flailing and uneveness, I am a fan of her voice.


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