My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays by Jonathan Ames, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays

My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays

4.3 6
by Jonathan Ames
     
 

My Less Than Secret Life is the companion volume to Jonathan Ames's first memoirish endeavor, "the mildly perverted and wildly amusing" (Vanity Fair) What's Not to Love? This collection of the cult author's fiction and essays includes Ames's public diary, the bi-weekly columns he penned for the New York Press. The entries of this diary are a record of his mad

Overview


My Less Than Secret Life is the companion volume to Jonathan Ames's first memoirish endeavor, "the mildly perverted and wildly amusing" (Vanity Fair) What's Not to Love? This collection of the cult author's fiction and essays includes Ames's public diary, the bi-weekly columns he penned for the New York Press. The entries of this diary are a record of his mad adventures: his ill-fated debut as an amateur boxer fighting as ‘The Herring Wonder', a faltering liaison with a Cuban prostitute, his public outing of George Plimpton as a Jew, his discussion with Eve Ensler about his dear friend The Mangina, a renegade mission as a Jew into the heart of Waspy Maine, and other such harrowing escapades. Whether trying to round up a partner for an orgy, politely assisting in an animal sacrifice, or scamming tickets to the WWF's Royal Rumble for his son, Jonathan Ames proves himself a ballsier Everyman whose transgressions and compassionate meditations will satisfy the voyeur and encourage the halfhearted. But be warned. As Jonathan says, "I don't like to be a bad influence. It's bad enough that I have influence over myself." "...Ames has always been one of my favorite contemporary writers ... for his ... fearless commitment to the most demanding psychosexual comedies."—Rick Moody

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brooklyn-based Ames's wild follow-up to What's Not to Love? is an entertaining salmagundi that tosses five short stories in among 42 essays, including past New York Press column installments, book reviews and e-zine contributions. A 1987 invitation to a nonexistent literary symposium sent Ames to a paranoid precipice, and his vivid, noir-style recollection of that mystery, The Nista Affair, makes a fine centerpiece. But the author is a man of appetites for sex, for self-examination, for performance, for weird experiences and this makes his book irresistible. He's like the dirtiest, smartest kid on the playground you might cringe, but you can't help being transfixed. In Booty and the Beast, he waxes rhapsodic on waitress watching; The Orgy chronicles his failed attempts to attend one. With bodily functions and sexuality the dominant themes, Ames's public diary his New York Press columns often feels more like a pubic diary. When he meets Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), they discuss the Mangina, a prosthetic vagina worn by performance artist Harry Chandler; Gear magazine assignments send him into a session with a female hypnotist specializing in penis enlargement and onto the set of a porn film. From recollections of prostitutes to reflections on an s&m support group, he documents numerous erotic encounters: When it comes to sexual fetishes, I can't be pigeonholed. Ames lays his soul bare here, and those who are easily offended should stay away. But for readers who don't mind the occasional squirm for the sake of the frequent belly laugh, this hodgepodge of oddities is highly recommended. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Clever, self-involved performer and author Ames (What’s Not to Love?, 2000, etc.) can’t seem to let himself alone, mentally or physically, and he gleefully tells us all about it in this gathering of newspaper essays, journal entries, fiction, and miscellany. His solipsistic record of naughty adventures home alone or out with ladies of the night, porn stars, tranny hookers, and various kinky people is certainly not Mr. Pepys's kind of diary. Ames is Alexander Portnoy come to life: lascivious, overwrought, and funny, though not nearly as funny as Portnoy, even if he does label his personality disorder as “Comic-Depressive.” His giddy depression and manic misery are always first-person, up-front, and in-your-face. He is partial to drinking and shtupping, drag queens and masturbation, beautiful breasts and behinds, oral sex and phone sex. Even the putative book reviews are self-centered, with a determinedly raunchy affect. If you haven’t heard about his pal’s invention of a sexual artifact called “the mangina,” you haven’t been paying attention—and you’re lucky. Granted, Ames can write. His recounting of his adventures as “The Herring Wonder” (a supposed incarnation of a Lower East Side Jewish boxer), a visit to a gathering of S&M groupies, and a purloined manuscript demonstrate his talent. But all the palaver about anatomy (male, female, or indeterminate) and all the stream of consciousness concerning the diverse uses of body parts (his or not) are essentially variations on one note and, as such, become a tad tedious. Though Ames mentions his editors, his text seems never to have crossed any editor’s desk. It isn’t entirely trash talk, but it isn’t mainstream material that will please thelocal Watch and Ward Society or General Ashcroft. For the rest of us, as Ames says, “When something’s not your hobby, you can only take so much”—for instance, the author’s report that he needs to grasp his penis when he is writing. Just once, Jonathan, let go and try writing with both fists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560253754
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
05/28/2002
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.85(d)

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My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is funny as hell. Non stop laughs. I finished this book while traveling in Eastern Europe over the winter. Well worth the money I spent for it. Jonathan Ames is a great story teller, from his love of whores to his great adventures in New York and abroad. This is a great read for sure and one of the best books that I have read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!! No novel has ever made me laugh out loud except this one. You wont believe the things that this man says. He is a true comice genius!!!
yum More than 1 year ago
Jonathan Ames is a fantastic writer. The way he jots down his ideas in this novel is perfect. He has a great sense of humor in every situation he encounters. The book is about him as a writer and his many escapades through life. Most of the book revolves around reoccurring sexual themes. There are a lot of talks about transexuals, masturbation, prostitutes and pornography. So if reading about those subjects is not your cup of tea, do not read this book. Although all the sexual themes are written in great humor, they occur quite often. The book had some great stories, and i was interested in the writer's life and how he perceived things. It did not have a continuous plot, and was somewhat jumpy, so I would LOVE a certain part of the book and then the next chapter I wouldn't be too fond of. However, overall it was amusing and fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Often beset by existential and sexual angst, Jonathan Ames personifies a postmodernist and Beat version of what the German sociologist Georg Simmel termed ¿the stranger,¿ a marginal urban man who by his alienation from the mainstream social and moral orders can have an unusual perspective and objectivity on the absurdities of life. Ames¿ conundrums draw him both to introverted self-absorption and outward to a variety of extroverted escapades which often seem to be based in a longing for some kind of meaning but which tend to end at their starting points of emptiness and absurdity. He tells his stories with great humor while sometimes stumbling upon profound sociological and psychological insights which are expressed with artful simplicity. That a writer of Ames¿ talent and wit has not by now gained greater notoriety reflects poorly on a society which puts premiums on complacency but in which nonconformity and humorous introspection are in relatively short supply and little demand.