August Reading // Kiedis & Kushner

Only two books this month. I probably could’ve crammed another one in during the last two weeks, but I didn’t want to feel rushed. The Flamethrowers was something I read a review of and decided to request from the library on a whim. By the time I got it I’d forgotten anything I’d read about it (story of my relationship with the Chicago Public Library). Scar Tissue, however, was one I couldn’t find on the shelves even though it was supposedly there. I requested it thinking it’d be November before it turned up. A week later it was in and I was stoked.

I already have my book picked out for next month. I’m excited. It’s sitting on the shelf staring at me right now.

ScarTissue_Final

I didn’t want this book to end.

Kiedis as a narrator came across as incredibly level headed and trustworthy. I’m sure the retrospective nature of the book helped, but it truly showed a healthy and positive outlook on his life and it made the more awkward and painful topics easy to take. For example, i’d say he had a fairly rough childhood, but he presented it in such a matter-of-fact way that it didn’t seem all that bad. He was so accepting of it that, as a reader, you also accepted it. I realized this most keenly when i’d tell other people of his sexual escapades, especially the ages of the ladies involved, and he started sounding kind of creepy. Yet i seemed to overlook it in my outlook on his character. He’s just manipulative by nature; i believe he points it out himself as a flaw.

I went in to the book not knowing much of the history of the band. I knew a member had died of an overdose, but that was the extent of my historical knowledge. Two things happened because of that: i took most of what Kiedis said as fact, and it began to read almost as a novel to me. I’m sure some things were embellished and i’m sure there are other views on the stories within, but i only have this book to go on. I wish Flea had a book as well. And Frusciante. Likewise, at times i felt as though at any moment Kiedis was going to die. His constant relapses, his inability to stay clean or completely commit to rehab read like he was headed for it. Even as i knew i was reading a memoir of someone alive and well. It made for a really good read.

I enjoyed the flowing nature of the book, the almost unending reel of stories. Someone who requires structure to their reading would probably be driven batty by it, but i didn’t mind. In the end I wanted to keep reading, to know if he’d relapsed. To know how he was doing. Did (dog’s name) ever end up seeing him high? I hope not.

TheFlamthrowers_Final

The Flamethrowers was the first novel i’d read in awhile. Game of Thrones doesn’t count, as i’d seen the show prior. It was nice to read some fiction again, but this was hard for me to get into.

The story is about Reno, a girl whose name we never learn, and Valera. It jumps between her own story and that of the founder of Moto Valera, an Italian motorcycle and, eventually, tire company.

It’s hard for me when i don’t identify with characters right away. I hated Sandro immediately, but Reno was harder to judge. I could relate to the lonely life in a new city, but i constantly wanted to shake her for being so blind and passive. I also constantly felt like i was missing something. As though there was some underlying message that was just too far beneath the surface to grasp. Especially when the speed dynamic was lost somewhere in the middle of the book and the only art Reno created that people saw were her movies from school.

Near the end, one of the characters insinuates that Reno is finally growing up, but I don’t see it. Her only expression of non-passivity is telling Ronnie to fuck off, though she doesn’t mean it, and leaving Sandro. However, she seems to regret leaving Sandro, she only realizes she needs to move on when she sees him with another woman and she never brings up her past with Ronnie. Incredibly frustrating.

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