Back in the day, I had a dream that I would excel at CBR Bingo. I did get one bingo, but alas, that was all I could muster in the timeframe. Even though I didn’t blow the doors off the competition, I thoroughly enjoyed planning and plotting my bingo card and thus I’ve decided to read a few more on the ol’ bingo card, even though it only “counts” to me, as it were.
I believe I was going to use Less for Rainbow Flag but someone put “I’m Special” by Ryan O’Connell (hilarious memoir) on my radar so I fit this round peg into the mostly round hole of travel. Though Less isn’t a travel book it is certainly about a man on a journey, both literal and emotional, as he tries to pull himself together after the end of an emotional relationship. Arthur Less is more or less a bystander in his life, never seeing himself as the protagonist, but more so a supporting character, a victim of circumstance. He is a successful author, though not nearly as successful as his former lover, and as his fiftieth birthday swiftly approaches is taking stock of his life and not too happy with the contents. Feeling stuck and trapped, he decides to respond “yes” to all of the middling offers he has received to teach a class, present at a seminar, flotsam of the literary world, which is where the travel comes in. Determined to put some distance between himself and the plane he globe-trots, but as the adage goes, you are always wherever you are, so rather than respite from his troubles he continues down the rabbithole, no matter the exotic locale.
This book is a novel that grew on me. I went from confused to bemused and amused, and finally endeared. I’m not sure I would give it Pulitzer level standing (though it did garnish that coveted award) but I think that what Greer has written is a relatable everyman tale, and because that man is gay, it’s a story that hasn’t oft been told and one I will recommend.