Lee's Reviews > A Common Pornography

A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell
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Mar 01, 10

bookshelves: potential-conflict-of-interest
Read on February 28, 2010

Kevin is a righteous writer/editor/Powell's small-press section curator dude I know from the early Aught's online literary world and Eyeshot. We're both Sixers fans, and at one point in his memoir he mentions Sedale Threatt, the best-named backup point guard during Charles Barkley's (or anyone's) era. Started reading this right after the Canadians beat the US in hockey and finished a little after midnight. I rarely read 216 pages in a single sitting, but I found the short chapters consumable, the language clear and affectationless, and the pace at which he provided serious information about himself and his family intriguing. The language acts the same no matter the content. And, despite the title, most of the short chapters are almost sentimental in their nostalgia for the "common" moments of childhood and adolescence, something I generally find sort of pukey. But not here. In part because without revving up the language or freaking things out at any time, in the exact same very even, nearly anonymous American voice (a good thing), he intersperses confessions re: his family's dysfunction and his, um, lowest moments. At times I was thinking why am I reading this? Why confess all this? But I think the effect for me was like a slideshow, with each image eliciting associations from my own childhood studded with long-gone friends, KISS concerts, Sedale Threatt, and a little later on, shooting hoops for hours (in the pitch dark, in my case) on a certain psychoactive. I guess I'm saying I found it "relatable" -- a very steady, mature, accessible tone lets this connection happen. Insightful, without dropping bombs of hard-won wisdom etc. Other than when I said SEEEEEDALE THREEEEEEAT! or when I emitted one big LOL, I read silently, patiently. Superadmirably honest in content and form. Definitely worth the trip down ye olde memory lane, the author's and the reader's.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim I had a very similar reading experience. Ripped right through it without intending to. Makes it look/seem easy.


message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Totally. There were some really subtle things too, like that one bit about almost getting arrested with the ski masks that begins with KS and a friend wanting to feel a girl's skin. It's not "spare" writing, though. It's detailed, generous, reliable, poised, and straight-up, regardless of the content, which I guess works in terms of correcting for daddy issues etc.


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