My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories
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My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  898 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Steve Almond's collection My Life in Heavy Metal features twelve powerful stories that take a clear-eyed view of relationships between young men and women who have come of age in an era without innocence. In the title story, an El Paso newspaper clerk assigned to review the heavy metal bands that play the local arenas is drawn in by the primal music, which fuels a torrid a...more
Hardcover, 205 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Grove Press (first published 1900)
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Kate
May 15, 2012 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of well written short stories
Shelves: short-stories, music
While reading these 12 very well written stories, songs would spontaniously pop into my head, and in no particular order, below is my playlist. Enjoy:

1. Cherry Pie ~ Warrant
2. Lovesong ~ The Cure
3. Push It ~ Salt N Pepa
4. Make Me Sweat ~ Basement Jaxx
5. Wild Thing~ Tone Loc
6. One Thing Leads To Another ~ The Fixx
7. I Want Your Sex ~ George Michael
8. Rasberry Beret ~ Prince
9. Pour Some Sugar On Me ~ Def Leappard
10. You Shook Me All Night Long ~ AC/DC
11. Metal on Metal ~ Anvil
12. Love Comes In S...more
Malbadeen
I bought this book despite the atrocious cover and I am so, so glad i did. I love it! I started it last night and was loving it so much i couldn't control the underline impulse - i made myself get out of bed and go to the kitchen just so I could circle and underline things (for what? who the hell knows? but it felt imperative at that moment).
The first story reminded me of a time I was waiting outside a bathroom at a MEGAdeath concert for my boyfriend to return. I was the ONLY person not in black...more
Jeruen
There is a line between literature and pornography. A book can be a fine piece of literature while still involving sexual scenes. However, if there is too much sex, then slowly, but surely, the book turns from literature into pornography.

This book is a collection of short stories about man-woman relationships. Granted, some of the stories were amusing, poignant, and funny at times. There are stories about couples belonging to different political parties, couples transcending language and citizen...more
Natalie
In Steve Almond's collection of short stories, he manages to capture within a few pages each the initial joy and sense of well-being at the spark of a relationship, the continuance of that feeling into the beginning stages of love and the sexual pleasure couples take in one other, to the decay and inevitable collapse of the affair. The language rings true, and the turns of phrase are beautiful.
Ashley
Sep 13, 2007 Ashley rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Steve Almond
Shelves: fiction
This book was just alright. I think that Almond is a better non-fiction writer than fiction. His observations about things that happen are really funny and interesting. And he seems like a real person. In stories, his characters feel more like sketches.
Ben
It is in these moments of tender and ridiculous nostalgia that I know something inside me is still broken.
Lizzy
Steve Almond writes about ****ing lots of ladies, many of whom seem to be from Eastern Europe (suggesting that Almond had a thing for one or several Eastern European-type ladies.) I am a great admirer of this man! Quite simply one of my favorite writers. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I read Steve Almond the way other women must read Cosmo's Bedside Astrologer for Your Man* (i.e., to gain insight into the psyche of the opposite sex by relatively oblique means). In my inner world, Almon...more
The Awdude
There are some really great stories in here. "Among the Ik," for instance, a story that will move you unless you're just plain immovable. Also, "The Body in Extremis." A fantastic story about love and desire and the normativities to which we help society chain them. Most of the stories are about different kinds of relationships and how we assign value to their particularities. The theme of the collection, I think, is summed up nicely for the reader at the end of the last story: "The heart is not...more
Jennifer Spiegel
This book is all about sex. In one of my creative writing classes, a prof said something that has stayed with me. He said that when someone is writing about sex, he or she is also writing about something else. Something else. What? Sex as a metaphor, as a literary conceit? I may write a blog on this at some point, but I'm reminded of other books about sex. Remember Milan Kundera's THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING? Consider the title and what Kundera did with sex to get at that title. Am I reall...more
Christina Marie Rau
I read Candy Freak and loved it from the first letter to the last. I closed up that book wanting more. I found My Life In Heavy Metal by Steve Almond. I was excited. Then I found out it was fiction--short stories--and not another memoir. Hmm, did I want to read it? Could I read it knowing the freakness about this guy? Could I forget about the author's real life and focus on the characters? After reading a blurb from the first short story that shares the collection's title, I said, yes. He mentio...more
Emily
May 22, 2007 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: guys who identify with the author
As strange as it feels to say, this book reminds me a little bit of Milan Kundera's _Laughable Loves_. It's strange to say because Almond is a young guy who lives in Boston and doesn't share much of the formal writing style or the philosophizing that is characteristic of Kundera, and he lacks Kundera's level of cruelty in his sense of humor. Perhaps the resemblance is because this book is also about love, sex, and the risible failures that accompany preoccupation with them. As Almond's narrator...more
Josh
Jan 15, 2010 Josh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jilted twentysomethings everywhere!
Recommended to Josh by: Carol
My girlfriend Carol is very good at knowing what short stories I will like, and so it came as no surprise to me that I liked this book pretty much the moment I picked it up. Maybe that's over-stating it a bit, but actually, the cover is bizarre and awesome, as are the stories. While maybe young Mr. Almond is a little obsessed with pale, Eastern European girls and "stiffening against himself," these are the kind of stories that make me want to be a writer. Or maybe even make me realize my own lim...more
Mark T.
A fun, but simple series of short stories.

A friend enticed me into reading the book by saying that when he read it, it made him feel as though anyone can write, and that it inspired him to have increased confidence when writing.

I feel like this is both a good and bad thing. The stories to have simple short paths, with simple writing style and technique, which makes it both accessible in it's best instances, and a bit drab in others.

It did have a strong theme of sex; unclean, honest, and brutal...more
Michael Gause
Sep 19, 2007 Michael Gause rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially those who think about music and sex obsessively..

This is easily Steve Almond's best book and one of the best collections of short stories I've read in years. It's honest (which is about as high a compliment as I could possibly give to a book) raw..and really strikes me in its confessionalist tone, especially with regard to sex. It's very difficult to write a sex scene and not only make it sound fresh but not make it sound like this: "he touched her sex, glistening.." you know, a lot of people write about sex like they're reading a Fabio novel....more
rebecca
Jul 13, 2007 rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: female ejaculators
I'm sorry that I said Steve Almond wasn't cool once, to Amanda. SA IS cool. He has a cool website, he likes music. I found about him from his interview of Smoosh in the June/July 2003 Believer. When I approached the less-approachable girl in Smoosh about this interview, she couldn't recall it, which is weird because it was an 826 benefit...the probably don't know the ins and outs of such things because they are children. Or because they don't care which is smart. There is a bull mastiff who live...more
Jodi
First of all, I have to say, I got spanked today for spending most of my free time reading books when I should be looking for a job. And I’m more than a little pissed that the book I’ve spent all my time reading lately turned out to be completely underwhelming.

Before October, I’d never read anything by Steve Almond, but then Dale assigned us one of his stories in the kick-ass, everyone should read it Best of Tin House. I loved the story. It was funny and dirty and sorta sad — most everything I l...more
Meg Tuite
YES, yes, and yes! Get a copy and have a great time! It's exceptional, as all of his work is! Truly entertaining and always well-written.
Natalie E. Ramm
My Life in Heavy Metal is a series of short stories, mostly from first person POV, and mostly about men in their twenties (there is one story about a lady). They range from cheating on girlfriends to hookup culture to relationships gone badly. Though they were written over 10 years ago (can you believe it!), they still feel modern and relevant. Steve Almond is a fantastic writer. Really, he’s brilliant. But some of these stories I found the subject matter generally uninteresting or that it fell...more
Jennifer Monroe
Although I mostly read this book by the blinding backlight of my phone while nestled in bed in an Ambien™ fog of memory-eliminating hypnosis, I can safely say it is a fantastic exploration of love, sex, and loneliness. Almond writes well from first person as either male or female, and has nailed the voices of self-indulgent young men as well as aging, female office drones.

Some moments made me laugh, others left me aching and wondering about lost loves. Excellent read, and one which I will revis...more
Renée
Jul 07, 2007 Renée rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: like literary fiction and short stories.
Almond has a strange compassion for loveable losers in this collection that makes it a standout for me. He doesn’t fall into the trap that I find in young-ish male authors of trying to be “that important writer” by writing that brooding kind of romanticized male tripe. His stories stand because he presents vulnerable characters who, despite their foibles, force us to look at their underlying humanity. He does this with the grace of language, with sharp, unforgiving humor and sex. My favorites in...more
Trin
I really like Almond’s nonfiction, but these short stories, in their monotonous account of bad decision after bad decision, lost love after lost love, really did not do it for me. Maybe the fact that I’m in my twenties and suffering from a poor love life makes me ill-equipped to appreciate stories about people in their twenties suffering from poor love lives—though everyone in Almond’s fiction, I should note, is also having way, way more sex than I am; maybe you do need distance. I need to read...more
Michael
Almond does something few writers seem able to pull off: Writes about the sexual side of relationships with great sex scenes that seem real and full of joy and fun. (Though not always.) The stories are often funny, but just as often shot through with sudden sad little epiphanies that struck me, at least, as nearly painful, such as this one post-breakup: "There is a point you reach, I mean, when you are just something bad that happened to someone else." Ouch. Am looking forward to his second coll...more
Kate
Sep 06, 2007 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a libido and a sense of humor
nerd alert: i loved this collection so much that i wrote steve almond an email fan letter. this book will make you laugh, turn you on, and give you something to think about. if you ever get a chance to see steve read in person, do it. he's just as funny and engaging and sometimes (always?) passes out candy. more people should read this book and i hope the popularity of his non-fiction stuff leads people back to this overlooked (when it was released and by his own admission) collection.
Maegan
never before (and never since, until i read memoirs of a geisha) have i read a male author write female characters so well. at least in the one story titled "geek player love slayer." i pull this book out for travel. it's not a read-straight-through collection of short stories, as each story will leave you with characters that you have to let simmer before you can judge. which isn't to say that it's all gloomy - it's certainly not.
Cara
I really enjoyed reading this book. Almond's language is beautiful and his stories contemplative. I didn't enjoy that most of his male narrators felt they could find some kind of enlightenment through women. I kept waiting for one of the male characters to see women as people, not mythical sexual creatures. Though the book was stellar, I found the gender representations disappointing.
Cameron
Wow. It has been a while since I read a spectacular collection of short stories, and usually those are written by Rick Bass or William Kittredge.

Who is this Steve Almond, anyway? He's got more persona and creative heart spearing insights than the poet Ai.

From the get go, these are poignant, tough little bristly buggers that will stick in your gut like oatmeal and glass.
John
The worst book in the history of western civilization. Remember the saying that 10,000 monkeys banging away on typewriters for a million years would eventually create Hamlet? Well, one monkey hurling its feces against a wall has already produced a work of art that has more depth, self-awareness and aesthetic viability than anything Steve Almond is capable of producing.
John
Fast-paced, funny, occasionally confusing and raw stories about love and life. This is the collection where Almond compares someone's nipples to Frankenstein's bolts, in case you were wondering.

I'm a little put off by Almond's anatomical references - "clavicle", "meat of her thighs" - but he does a good job of digging into the murky human psyche and bringing up gems.
Annie
I added this book to my list in 2004, and while I'm glad to finally check it as read, it was a somewhat trying experience. Generally into Almond's turns of phrase but not at all interested in the gross relationship stuff that every single story was obsessed with. I kept flipping through the pages to see how many were left in a particular story, which is never a good sign.
Sandra Novack
Jun 05, 2007 Sandra Novack rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cliff, Chris, Beebe
I am a fan of Steve Almond. I know Candyfreak got tons of buzz, but My Life...is my favorite of his by far. Almond has a great sense of narrative movement, and he's just quirky and playful on the page. My favs in this collection are "The Last Single Days of Don Viktor Potapenko," "How to Love a Republican," "Pornography," and "The Body in Extremis."
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Steve Almond is the author of two story collections, My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the non-fiction book Candyfreak, and the novel Which Brings Me to You, co-written with Julianna Baggott. He lives outside Boston with his wife and baby daughter Josephine.
More about Steve Almond...
Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America Which Brings Me to You: A Novel in Confessions (Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories

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“It is in these moments of tender and ridiculous nostalgia that I know something inside me is still broken.” 51 likes
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