Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sweet Holy MotherWHATing??? What a book!

A “fictionalized” memoir with the unlikely title of “Sweet Holy Motherfucking Everloving Delusional Bastard?” I wasn’t even going to bother with it. But then I read, in the prologue, that jail time is involved, though he warns that this book is no jailhouse confessional. Instead, he says, it’s the story of what happens to his fictionalized self between college graduation and incarceration. (You’ll have to read the book to understand this trajectory.) Now I became at least curious. Could the author manage to avoid the pitfall of poor-poor-pitiful-me whining that infects post-jail memoirs?
Oh, man. Could he ever.
Jerome Segundo may have been born to be a stand-up comic. At the very least, he’s a hell of a good writer and storyteller, whose next book will be about the ultimate diet regimen: punishment. But sticking to the present topic, Segundo’s tongue-in-cheek adventure in the world of self-discovery, friendship, dating and sex is one of the liveliest, most entertaining stories I’ve read in years. Really. He’s witty, in a self-immolating sort of way. He’s smart, and a clever writer. With his best buddies, he’s coarse—but aren’t they all. Bottom line: his heart is really, really in the right place, even if his head is reeling with confusion.
Segundo will swear it’s fiction, but the truth lies within the pages, and draws readers deeper and deeper into his crazy young life, then breaks their hearts before he’s finished with them, incarcerated as the result of a complex set of circumstances that don’t add up to a well-defined crime.
Segundo is, however, one of those people who grows and finds a new self in the process. His book does not concern jail time—it covers the crazy set of circumstances which put him there. Throughout this preposterously named book (and the title fits once you’ve read it), Segundo’s misadventures with his friends, his conversations with women and the trials of his goofy 20-something life make a great read. He and his two main pals are sardonic and blissfully unaware of life’s pitfalls, experiencing one after another with aplomb. Though naïve, they mature within a society that sees fit to ignore them—especially in the job market. They are the temporary slobs, slackers and posturers of society, the brothers every sister loves and can’t stand at the same time.
Segundo is young during the time period of this memoir. He is at once hopeful and skeptical—and far from politically correct. Yet he is the boy next door, who captures a unique story in a fresh style; his writing skills prove that he paid attention, at some point in his life, to good literature and good writing. Skirting the sharp edge between fiction and reality, with a tale of quite credible impact, Segundo leaves the reader hang-jawed, shouting, “Don’t do it, you idiot!” as he ventures into each mishap. Pick your favorite, whether it involves borscht and burritos, angry bees, prostatitus cures, “schlepping” flowers, or “speds” field trips (I warned you—not politically correct). This memoir, with its hard-to-remember but impossible to forget title, will win you over.
His gift for description and dialogue is well established, and sure to bring readers much more fun down the line.
Because of the way the book deals with the incident that puts him in prison, however, any young man out on his own ought to read this book—forewarned is kind of important here.
“… The verdict was the malformed product of a binary system of jurisprudence that proclaims either guilt or innocence and ignores the plight of those caught in between. A reasonable case could be made that I am both guilty and innocent. Or neither guilty nor innocent. I’m still grappling with the issue myself,” he writes.
I don’t mean to get into a lecture on the rights or wrongs of criminal acts. I mean only to say this is a good book, a funny book and—in fact—an important book. It has a bit more sex than I like to read, but younger (and more contemporary) readers will like it just as much. I am, after all, his mother’s age.
Segundo—keep writing. You’re un-holy funny and pretty darn smart about yourself and your friends. But next time, choose a title that won’t keep you off the shelves, ok?