Jennifer Spiegel's Reviews > My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories

My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond
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's review
Nov 20, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star-books

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 really comparing Almond with Kundera?

I am not.

I thought of other books about sex. LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER. THE LOVER. About the former: I didn't really like it, okay? I admit it. About the latter: I read it twice. The first time--in my own adolescence--I thought it brilliant, intoxicating. The second time wasn't so earth-shattering. It was pretty good.

Of course, then, there's LOLITA, which is nearly perfect.

Onto Almond. Not quite Nabokov or Kundera, but Almond is not just writing about sex. Nothing gratuitous, nothing lurid--but, yes, sex. Transformative, metaphoric sex. And characters. And plots. And arcs. These stories, these sentences, this language: it's sex, but it's more. And, really, I found this book virile (!) and dynamic. Here is prose with verve. Would you believe I really couldn't stop reading?

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