Fuck HappinessFuck Happiness by Kirk Jones
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

”That is not my penis!” you shout

reading a book written in second person is jarring enough (heyyy, i’m not doing that!) reading a bizarro book written in second person even more so (heyyy, i’m NOT doing THAT, nor would i WANT TO!) reading a bizarro book written in second person where the “you” has different genitals than you* do even MORE so (heyyy, i’m NOT doing THAT, nor would i WANT TO, nor COULD I EVEN, biologically) reading a bizarro book written in second person where the “you” has different genitals than you** do and ALSO features a character with your actual name might just send you to the funny farm, especially if the character with your actual name has a giant maggot attached to her head and has become attached to it in both the literal and figurative senses:

Karen stands in front of the dolly dream house.

“Come on, honey.” You inch toward her, noting the faint throbbing at the center of her head. “Karen?”

“I made a new friend,” she says. “It kind of hurts.”

You spin her around. A fist-sized maggot writhes at the side of her head. You tug at it.

“Can it come home with us?” she asks.

You pull at it again. “Guess it’s going to have to.”

“It’s going to eat your brain.” Tommy slaps the larva. It plants itself firmly on Karen’s head and continues writhing.

“It is a she,” Karen says. “And she’s got a name.”

You crouch down and look at it closely. “What is its name, honey?”

“Beth.” Karen strokes the maggot and smiles. “Like Mommy.”

but then, THEN, the YOU who is ME sees, on the author’s own review of this book, a comparison between his two most recent works:

Die Empty was a foray into personal delusion, and navigating that thin line between madness and surreality to leave the reader guessing.

Fuck Happiness: there’s no question the shit that is happening is REAL.

and it’s as though the scales have fallen from your MY eyes: i DO have a penis, i DO hate my ex-wife, although we still do things together with my penis, i DO poop out magical aromatic foam that is occasionally also a daycare, i AM friends with a vomiting vulture, and my boss IS a fly. i am also a little girl with a maggot on my head who loves peanut butter and jelly.


if your name is not karen (or tommy or beth or gary or ghost bob, etc), you may still sometimes feel like someone has been reading your diary.

Things were so much easier when you were just jerking off in the dark after scotch taping clips from VHS tapes together.

do you feel seen? well, you are. we all are. tang’s making a comeback, jiffy peanut butter has always been here and it’s all gonna be okay. promise.

* the you that is actually you
** see *

read my reviews on goodreads

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this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

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