I loved this book. I think you might too if you’re a fan of self-referential books with a sense of humor and wryness about them, but especially books like I Love Dick by Chris Krause and After Claude by Iris Owens. So the book is a third person account of a mostly true or probably true or kind of true story of Michelle Tea as a mostly functional drug addict and alcoholic in Los Angeles in the late 1990s. It’s not an addiction, except that it is, but it’s just about a kid of dirtbag life. It probably owes a lot to something like Jesus’ Son Denis Johnson’s stories about a wayward drug addict living in lost time. It’s not the story matter so much as the honesty and the tone that sells this book, like that book. There’s a scene early in the book where a character remarks “Why do we always treat drug addicts like they’re so precious, like you can’t make fun of them” — I am paraphrasing, but the point they’re making is that everything else aside, the sadness, the trauma, the death, the lostness, it’s still a life being lived by a person, and people will find a way to laugh at anything.
Michelle is a complex character, like all her friends, who is capable of some self-reflection, some real dirtbag moves, and a lot of pathos. The book is so funny through it’s matter of fact depiction and really touching as well. There’s a real yearning that is more familiar than alien.