Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis
Let that title sink in. It’s so great! Also great: hearing Grace Lavery say it aloud herself. If you have any interest in diving into this piece (and holy moly, you should!) I HIGHLY recommend listening to the audio performance- and I do mean performance! Grace, Danny Lavery, and Marc Vietor do not skimp on the drama and pomp. Grace, in particular, has a lovely elastic and elegant lilt- cliché of clichés, but I do think I could happily listen to her read the phone book- especially if she is adding in her snarky thoughts and well-researched opinions along the way.
Grace is an openly trans academic, and her ability to speak up – frequently with ferocity and wit- has made her a target for looney TERFS and all sorts of other haters across the globe. Insufferable ass-hat Graham Linehan has been a frequent tormenter, but Grace is too cool to cow to any of that bullshit. Grace is also fiercely outspoken around her sexuality, her mental health, and her battles with addiction. She is loud, proud, and in your face- which, GOOD! She is also brutally smart.
Much like I do when reading her husband’s work, I often feel like I am not smart enough to catch up to Grace Lavery!
Does that mean that I will give up on her work? Absolutely not! Same as when I am reading Danny, I have wikipedia open and I am actively researching while reading (or in this case, listening). Grace is wickedly well-informed, and while I am sometimes in the dark, she always opens the door and invites the reader in- whether they pick up on the theme of the party or not.
I may have found myself floundering in passages picking Dickens to pieces, but there was more than enough to keep me on the line:
There’s a porn parody of QI! She reads Robert Webb for filth! The voicework is phenomenal! There’s an extended bit about how, as a child, it seemed like “falling into a vat of acid” was on-par with quicksand and falling anvils!
“but Cait, if you love Grace so much, why only 3-Stars?”
Well, we can love without perfection! If I only loved perfect things, people, places, I would love very little. This book/memoir/essay collection/diary entry is a little all over the place; there is cohesion, but there is also a wild push and pull between memoir and fantasy. There’s also a LOT of info about Grace’s sex life- which, good! share it all!…but I felt very odd LISTENING to a word-for-word reenactment of an intimate moment between two people with whom I am “familiar” with. No- I do not know Grace and Danny personally, nor do I have some sort of parasocial thing going on, but I found the intimacy unsettling- you may like it just fine! I have no issue with them sharing, nor am I a prude, I just felt like a voyeur.
If you are even mildly curious, please do give Please Miss a listen- and make sure you have your headphones at the ready!