REVIEW: A Fucked Up Life In Books (Anonymous)

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I’m going to take a pop at doing a review in as brusque a style as Bookcunt, the blogger who wrote this book. I can’t quite manage the same amount of swearing. It’s the Protestant upbringing. I might use the c-word more than anyone else I know, but I’ll get my knuckles rapped if I put it down in print.

I started this at midnight and finished in a few hours later, in the wee hours of the night, because it’s the kind of book that you get hooked on accidentally. Very accidentally–I don’t even remember how it got on my kindle. It’s a lifestory – or rather, from birth to twenty-eight – told under the nominal chapter-headings of books. They often figure as little more than an after-thought, but as an autobiography it’s clearly dowsed in literature at every turn.

It’s brash, especially in it’s un-euphemistic approach to naming body parts, and very very funny. The story about a gusset full of semen in a hairdressers had me snorting, likewise the story about a misplaced work email, and the story of Lolita on a bus was squirmingly similar to an experience of my own (that fucking book.) If there is anything so much as a narrative spine, it’s the relationship with her mother, who is forthrightly introduced as ‘a cunt’ and pretty much lives up to the summary throughout. And although you can intellectually know that she is probably a Nabakovian unreliable narrator, well–there’s just something very full force about Bookcunt’s narration that doesn’t allow you to consider any alternative other than her being right. This is how it is. Stick it.

And then, out of nowhere, a chapter can also spin you around into pathos and poignancy. They occur throughout, but it’s the final chapter that’s the kicker, up-ending everything before it, so much stronger for knowing that this is, effectively, a liveblog of real-life heartbreak. Kudos for putting that on the page, because that is brave.

And yes, this is still a fucked up life in BOOKS. They’re everywhere, even when the titular book of the chapter is tenuously linked at best. Finishing at 3am, I felt the urge to go outside somewhere, shake a volume of Shannara in someone’s face, and explain, at great and sweary lengths, why books are fucking brilliant–now fuck off, you cunt.

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