I read this book instead of watching the made-for-TV movie I was supposed to watch for a class. I loved this book. And by “loved it” I mean it imbued me with a whimsical sort of morose I don’t often get to experience, but always enjoy.
My favorite poem was “I have girly arms and I mean it.” My favorite lines in that poem were “I am so angry at my girly arms I could punch my dad in the dick, / which would have no effect because I have girly arms.” There is a bitter-funny element to this poem that reminds me of a story someone told me about a famous philosopher who, while reading Kafka, fell to the floor crying in hysterical laughter. Guillaume Morissette is very good at titling his poems (this probably involves the same skill-set as twitter, which is why he has such a nice twitter). I am terrible at titling my poems and always take the easy way out (which is probably why both my poem titles and twitter suck).
I recommend this book for the following occasions:
1. Taking the Megabus to a place you’d rather not be (Christmas is coming boys and girls)
2. During the period between when you get to a shitty class and when it starts.
3. Really anytime.
One thing I find exciting about what is going on in literature right now is its break with realism, which has dominated fiction since the age of Flaubert. Morissette’s characters say bleak and ironic statements like “Circle of life, straightforward line of death. And I don’t care because I’ll probably be dead by then. So there’s no point in having kids anymore, we’re the last generation. I’m the last generation. Have a pepsi.” I realize some people do not enjoy this style, but I personally love this kind of absurdist writing. I do not feel it distracts or retreats from reality, but allows us to realize the unspoken absurdity of reality. We all sit around having Pepsis (I’m actually having a Coke right now, but same idea) and making small talk while we hurtle into environmental catastrophe and possible annihilation. Guillaume is playing with the apathetic auto-destructiveness of society in an effective way.
I look forward to seeing Guillaume’s progression, and encourage everyone to buy his book for themselves (or a loved one, Christmas is coming boys and girls) and help alleviate his “extreme poverty.”