the id is: 5575


You Comma Idiot

Body: "The way things are in life, at least the way you see it, every single encounter involves a confrontation on some scale...Perhaps if you didn't try so much less than everyone else." According to an interview, Doug Harris's original version of You Comma Idiot, the author's debut novel, was originally written in third person. At some point in the revision process, after watching someone squirm with awkwardness under the cameras and lights as they were being interviewed on the news, Harris decided to write the whole thing over again in second person, addressing, with an accusatory tone, every possible nasty thing that could occur in his protagonist's little life.

Culled from anecdotal memories of his youth growing up in Montreal, the book tells the story of Lee Goodstone, a slacker extraordinaire. Instead of being the sort of go-getter who would put himself in better surroundings, Lee seems to just let life happen to him. There's a real down and out feel to the book, a sort of personal mythology that dates back to his original circle of friends. Together they hold his history, stretching back to high school, when Lee's best friend's girl -- and Lee's obsession -- Honey, decides to seduce him. The ramifications of his actions don't seem to concern him very much.

From his career as a minor drug dealer, he has squirreled away over $100,000 and his desire to hustle to bring in more clients has fallen by the wayside too. What makes his character stand out is his apathy about clearing his name, perhaps a telling sign of the age we live in: Harris captures Lee's neurosis and insecurities about his appearance and luck with women. Harris's writing style is at times choppy and jarring, but this fits into the mood of a novel, a lost boy, never fully aware of the damage he is doing until it's too late. Overall a fun read with a serious dark side. (Timothy Green)

Doug Harris, 327 pgs, Goose Lane Editions,, $29.95

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