Sunday, August 5, 2012

You Can Make Him Like You by Ben Tanzer - a review

The dialogue in Ben Tanzer's You Can Make Him Like You from Artistically Declined Press reads like a riveting play. But instead of seeing everything from the fourth wall, you're seeing it from the narrator's eyes, ears, nose, mouth, sweaty palms. The subtext is working through your nervous system. You're up there. You're in it.

A lot of tasty layers to this read, quite a unique and relatable coming of age tale. I laughed, I even teared up in a few parts. Sucked me in and stirred me up. Makes me want to have a kid, and not have one, in the same stroke of thought. Any writer that can make me feel fucked up like that is like a crazy chef that makes a good spicy dish, that burns my tongue and flushes my face but makes me crave more of his signature work, if that makes sense.

My favorite passage:

I undo the locks and ease the door open. There is no one there, but there is a plastic bag from Jewel hanging on the doorknob. I open the bag and find a container of chicken soup, a small stuffed, multi-colored octopus and a note.

"Dear Jones,
Your dad told me that you're having a rough time, and I just want you to know that I think everything is going to be okay soon, so just hang in there, all right?

It is the single greatest thing anyone has ever done for us and for a moment I honestly believe we will get through this.
Tanzer creates such simple moments like this that are loaded with the stuff in life that freak us out, stews tension in our minds, and it's those little things, like Frank's gesture that cut the tension and make life digestible, help us breath before bed, maybe laugh for the first time in a given day. Those little things are sometimes difficult to convey, but Tanzer seems to be a master at subtly building to those.

Read his books!

1 comment:

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Always looking for a good read.