Books

Book Review:

Shit Magnet: One Man's Miraculous Ability to Absorb the World's Guilt

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If you're not the type who frequents Mary's Club or Magic Gardens, you may not have noticed Exotic Magazine; and even if you have a stack of back issues in the bathroom, with all the provocative photos to distract you, you may not have thought to actually read Portland's monthly sex mag. But if you have a sick sense of humor and are attracted to articles about anything from "Big Black Dicks and Big Fat Chicks" to sex industry events, you should seek out a copy... it will undoubtedly keep you laughing in the can.

Being a huge fan of Exotic's sex and sarcasm, and more specifically, editor Jim Goad's biting observations, I clamored to review his book, Shit Magnet, a non-fictional account of his life leading up to his imprisonment for domestic violence (written while in prison). I thought the book would be filled with Goad's typically grumpy but funny pontifications. Not the case. It is instead a spewing of depressing memories, self-analysis and personal philosophy. Goad examines his history of violence, seeking to explain why his life keeps ending up in an eruption of punches, kicks, stitches, and of course, jail.

My complaint about the book is that it's written defensively and dramatically. Goad blames his history (and other people) for his actions, and yet, complains about being blamed for the actions of others. He still succeeds in making a compelling argument for why a man with such a volatile life is unable to escape violence.

The book is loaded with insane stories, almost like a real life version of Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son: "When we drive over to the local mall to try and cash her welfare check, she starts writhing uncontrollably on the parking-lot asphalt. She's certain it's a demonic possession. It turns out she's had a tampon lodged way up her snatch for five or six days and is probably suffering the first stages of Toxic Shock Syndrome."

If you have interest in Goad's life, this book is a revealing memoir, arousing sympathy and disgust. If you have no interest in him, you might find it an overly indulgent "his side of the story." KATIE SHIMER

Shit Magnet: One Man's Miraculous Ability to Absorb the World's Guilt Jim Goad Appearing at Dante's Mon Oct 28, 7 pm

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