My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays
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My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  545 ratings  ·  31 reviews
My Less Than Secret Life is the companion volume to Jonathan Ames's first memoirish endeavor, "the mildly perverted and wildly amusing" (Vanity Fair) What's Not to Love? This collection of the cult author's fiction and essays includes Ames's public diary, the bi-weekly columns he penned for the New York Press. The entries of this diary are a record of his mad adventures: h...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 31st 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published May 30th 2002)
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Michael W.
Aug 23, 2007 Michael W. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sedaris fans, people who haven't laughed out loud in a while...
Shelves: fiction-read
This is a very funny collection of essays, some 'fiction' and a diary from author, variety show host, raconteur and sometimes boxer,Jonathan Ames. I say 'fiction' because often Ames' fiction is very similar to his hilarious, sometimes touching, sometimes disturbing, but always funny and entertaining, real life experiences; just with the names changed.

I've been a fan of Jonathan Ames for about five years, since I first discovered him as a guest on David Letterman. I've attended a few of his readi...more
Seth
My second foray into Ames' unique brand of psychotherapy, the bookjacket entices/warns: "Do you often wonder what the hell you're doing with your life? Do you feel separate from most people, like you don't belong anywhere? Do you black out when you drink alcohol? Do you worry that no one will ever love you because you're a bit freakish?" The list goes on. In truth, Ames does confront all of these issues and more with his patented self-deprecating introspection. What results is something raw and...more
Nathan
I read this after I had read "Wake Up, Sir!" It is a compendium of previously published essays, some non-fiction accounts of the madcap adventures of the author, and some fiction or diary entries. It is often very, very funny. It mainly features a lot of private phobias and hangups that Ames has in the areas of self control and sexuality...still, there are many very heartfelt pieces about caring for loved ones, suicide attempts by dogs, a great piece on a literary hoax from a jealous admirer, et...more
Maggie Wiggins
Way back when I was attending Columbia for fiction writing, I struggled with this exact topic. How do you write a hilarious biting memoir and make sure your parents and friends will still speak to you after it's been published? Where is the line between fact and fiction, and can you be sued for crossing the line? But Ames is so funny that I don't really care. I appreciate his admission, though, that slight fame caused a shift in his 'real' life. Sedaris and the other heavyweights never seem to a...more
Rob
I love Ames writing. He marches to his own drummer and lives by his own rules. He should be received along side those who appreciate Seadaris and Borroughs. Only problem for me with these types of essay books is that after 150 pages it begins to sound like the party guest that just won't shut up. Nagging and monotone and non stop. It's a book that I will pick up and read from time to time but have trouble trying to digest as a whole.
Brianna Ryan
I have never read and of Jonathan Ames previous work and I feel like if I had it may have helped. The book was a bit of a hodgepodge of stories/articles he had written, so most of the stuff has been seen before. I felt that some of the essays/articles I enjoyed, but some were a little dull and were difficult to get through. I do like short the most of the 'chapters' were and made it easy for short reading when I was on the train.
Jared
If you like reading another person's inner-most thoughts and desires and enjoy a writer who can make you laugh and like sex, then you're going to enjoy Jonathan Ames. I'm not even 100 pages in and I want to read more from him. Okay, I finished it, and it's very good. It's blogging before blogging became blogging. In other words, a diary. Very personal and insightful on the human condition.
Liesbeth Wieggers
Advised by a friend. And she was right. Read the whole book in one Sunday. The book consists of short stories in which Ames describes his life in painful, funny, freaky experiences. But he writes it tenderly; as one critic says: "... he renders the perverse sweet, the tormenting tender, and spins his most horrific escapades into pure, hysterical, weirdly uplifting comic gold..."
Sara
Apr 06, 2010 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Is there anything as terrible as racing through a truly hilarious book? With eyes and fingers on the metaphorical gas pedal, the only speed bumps are the tears of laughter and/or the arousal. So keep Kleenex handy and try to make it last as long as possible. Put that on your book jacket flaps, Ames!
Erin Beck
Unnecessary - I didn't learn anything or grow in any way while reading this book. I dont read for the beautiful prose that I know a lot of people do - I read for the emotions the story allows me to feel that I wouldn't normally - or to teach me a new way of looking at something. This book did nothing for me.
Zoom
A little disjointed, all over the map, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Great for voyeurs, since he likes to expose himself. Because it's an eclectic collection of writings, it's easy enough to get back on track whenever you're lost.

Michael
Hilarious. Not all of the essays are successful, but that's only because Ames is willing to gamble every time, going out on a comic/memoir limb that he then saws out from under him. Gosh, but I love this guy's stuff.
Mad
Neil and I are massive Bored to Death fans and he bought me this book of Ames essays as a birthday present. It's totally brilliant, very funny. Giving it three stars for now, until I finish it.
Justin
May 08, 2008 Justin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everybody, especially perverts.
Shelves: favorites
Why did I wait six months or so before reading another one of Ames' books?

I don't know. Why the hell do I do any of the stupid crap I do?
Nate
Hilarious. He writes unabashedly about such incredibly personal things and bizarre neuroses. Entertaining and makes you feel slightly less weird.
Sam "The Record Man"
More of Ames' tell tale wit and shameless recounting of his perverse adventures through the late night subcultures of New York city.
Erin
Really enjoyed the essays, especially "Bice". Not as crazy about the fiction, but liked the whole thing well enough to look for more Ames.
Alvin
Hilariously honest! Reading Ames one realizes how much embarassing stuff most personal essayists must be leaving out.
Josh
good easy bedtime reading...cept it keeps you up until 3am. not as easy as he makes it look.
Whitney
Thank God for Jonathan Ames. He'll tell you anything and everything without shame.
Jordyn B
I bought this book at a yard sale for a quarter and honestly, I want my quarter back.
Jason
hilarious, somewhat filthy, and sad. I bought and read this in 2005 and just re-read it.
Albert
funny, but a lot of the same. Got old after the first few stories.
Melissa
loved every second of it, had a hard time putting it down.
Ha Le
Jul 16, 2012 Ha Le is currently reading it
Just read a few pages. Very hilarious so far. LMAO
Joan Menzer
Another great book by Jonathan Ames - absolutely sick!
Sylvia
Laughed out loud at some of these essays.
Bruce
super funny and outrageous, a fun read
Kathryn Wiseheart
pervy fun...who doesn't love that?
Liz
dirty minds think alike... yikes! :)
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Jonathan Ames is the author of the books The Double Life is Twice As Good, I Pass Like Night, The Extra Man, What's Not to Love?, My Less Than Secret Life, Wake Up, Sir!, I Love You More Than You Know, and The Alcoholic (a graphic novel illustrated by Dean Haspiel). He is the editor of Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs.

He is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a f...more
More about Jonathan Ames...
Wake Up, Sir! The Alcoholic The Extra Man What's Not to Love?: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer I Love You More Than You Know

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“I live for coincidences. They briefly give to me the illusion or the hope that there's a pattern to my life, and if there's a pattern, then maybe I'm moving toward some kind of destiny where it's all explained.” 2007 likes
“I didn't think I was in a morbid mood, but it appears I am. My mind goes round and round trying to figure things out, but I always come back to the same two things: Loneliness and Death. Life ends before we figure anything out, most importantly how not to be lonely. Solitude is fine. But feeling like you have no one to love - abject lonliness - is not alright.” 66 likes
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