27 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Where’s My Wand? by Eric Poole

This was released today, I got my hands on a free review copy so read it earlier…

I will admit that the “I’m gay and I had a weird/crappy/horrible/funny childhood” sub-genre is getting a little overdone. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading it, but after a while, it starts to all sound basically the same. I was expecting witty chuckles from this book, but nothing I was going to rave about, I mean, it’s his first book and the sub-title is “One Boy’s Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting”. Really? Yikes.

BUT… I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. It was set in the 70s, what do you expect? I found some of the characters to be overly dramatized for our entertainment, but overall, this was a very heartfelt and warm book about growing up almost-knowing-you’re-gay in the 1970s. I like the author didn’t tell a full story, it was more like small stories, broken into chapters. I felt a little more real, who remembers everything that happened when they were 10? The author’s writing style is pretty simplistic, I loved the magic. I also felt like he laughed too much though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure looking back on it, his mother’s behavior brings back a lot of laughs. However, she also obviously had (has?) some form of OCD. I cannot imagine that it was always eye-rolling fun with your sister. People that live with someone with a severe compulsions like she did struggle. I wanted him to open up a bit more about that. I realize he was a kid and he does touch on it.

Having said that, there were some small little niggle things. I would also like to see the author “grow up” a bit and write a proper memoir novel about his life after high school, where he is today, how he got there. I do hope he continues his story as I’m interested to hear “the rest of it” – how his family is today – the whole she-bang. I suppose that’s the real measure of a good memoir… at the end of the day, do I go stalk the internet looking for a website or interview with the author for a “what happened next” fix… and I did. I admit it.

Those that enjoy this sub-genre (as I call it) should read this book. It’s also a good read in general. There’s no sex, a few bad words, but it’s a fun ride.

Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff have all produced winning memoirs of their demented, alternately heartrending and sidesplitting late- twentieth-century American childhoods. Now, first-time author Eric Poole joins their ranks with his chronicle of a childhood gone hilariously and heartbreakingly awry in the Midwest of the 1970s. From the age of eight through early adolescence, Poole sought refuge from his obsessive-compulsive mother, sadistic teachers, and sneering schoolyard thugs in the Scotchgarded basement of his family’s suburban St. Louis tract house. There, emulating his favorite TV character, Endora from Bewitched, he wrapped himself in a makeshift caftan and cast magical spells in an effort to maintain control over the rapidly shifting ground beneath his feet. But when a series of tragic events tested Eric’s longstanding belief that magic can vanquish evil, he began to question the efficacy of his incantations, embarking on a spiritual journey that led him to discover the magic that comes only from within.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2010: 36

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