Title: All the Dirty Parts
Author: Daniel Handler
Read harder Challenge: No
Star Review: ♥♥♥♥ /5
Why: Many people will know Daniel Handler by a different name – lemony snicket. Please, please do not go into this book thinking that this is in any way a continuation of lemony snicket’s writing. This book is marketed as an adult book, but I would park it somewhere at the extreme end of young adult – very late teen, if you will. Here’s why late teens and adults should take this book for a spin.
The narrator of this book, Cole, loves sex. He also loves masturbating. And he is not shy about talking to the reader about it. This book is presented in small, choppy chunks of thought. Sometimes it’s hard to tell just who is talking, and sometimes changes of subject are hard to follow. I loved that about this book, because it adds to the frenetic atmosphere that is adolescent sexual discovery.
Cole warns us early on: “There are love stories galore, and we all know them. This isn’t that. The story I’m typing is all the dirty parts.” And Cole describes all the dirty parts all right, of a string of sexual relationships that feel casual and fun to Cole. Like many kids, he experiments sexually, and the reader watches Cole struggle with his identity as a young sexual man. We meet a young lady who seems so different from Cole, and watch their relationship develop as well. It’s all written in those short bursts, and it’s decidedly consumable. And explicit. Cole really wants us to understand his life and how much he enjoys having sex.
During the course of storytelling, I watched Cole hit an apogee, and I watched his orbit decay. He’s a complicated character, who reminds me slightly of a dirty, but not mentally ill Holden Caulfield. He wants to tell it to you straight. He doesn’t realize how emotionally immature he is, until he does…
I consumed this short novel (144 pages) in the course of an afternoon, when I had meant to space it out over a few days. If that’s not a recommendation to pick up, I don’t know what it! I will be suggesting this book to some of the men I know, seeing if they can find themselves within the pages, and to some women, who might recognize Cole as well.