I read finally Very Recent History over the weekend, and it , much like Paul Lisicky’s Lawnboy, which I also read recently, was something that I was really meant and really needed to read. Like, in this weird narcissistic way, the book wouldn’t have reached its full level of success until I had read it. Books need to find their intended audience! But I also feel stronger than the Lisicky novel that maybe some of you are also its intended audience, and should make sure it reaches its full success potential.
1. It’s written from this removed, future voice like an academic from hundreds of years from now when society looks nothing like its present form is explaining things to readers who are completely unaware of “how we ___ now.” Which is super effective in breaking down and explaining things like capitalism, class, student loans, credit cards, sexuality, gender and politics in ways that are amusingly absurd yet right on the money. The effect being that yes, our society is absurd. Mind you this also takes place in 2009 during the worst of the economic crisis.
2. It’s very gay without ever using the word gay. Almost all the fleshed out characters in the book are gay men. Which, ok, is sad if you want to read about women, but also its nice to read a book about gay men where being gay is so matter of fact.
But it’s a really good snapshot of what being young and gay was like then. DList.com is mentioned! And then towards the end of it Grindr makes its debut.
3. It’s actually non-fiction, in that the author followed around a group of dude for the year. I read an article that revealed the actual place where the main character works, and because that happens to be in my industry and because I have a friend with who I’ve gossiped with about young gay men in New York in that industry, a few of the character’s real identities slipped into place for me even though I didn’t want them to. Who knew I could recall a G-Chat convo that included the words, “He’s so cute, but he has this fat Mexican boyfriend” Anyway, I kind of wish I didn’t know, and I haven’t tried to scope out the identity of anyone else. But I’d like to talk to someone else who has read to see if they had the urge to figure out who these people are or if that’s immaterial really.