The publisher likens Ames's first nonfiction book to "a twisted man's version of Candace Bushnell's classic, Sex and the City." But that comparison does Ames a disservice. Not only can this novelist (I Pass the Night; The Extra Man) and former New York Press columnist (the book is a collection of his columns) write circles around Bushnell, as well as around Ames's fellow ex-Press sex columnist, Amy Sohn, but Ames's columns reveal a sweet, wide-open soul, despite their outr? subject matter. And make no mistake, the matter is very outr?. The first column of 33 (and an epilogue) arranged in loose chronological order concerns how Ames, who entered puberty only on the cusp of turning 16, felt the need before then to hide his "little," hairless penis from his high school tennis teammates and coach, and how he ran to his mother's bed to show her his first erection. Further columns relate his experiences with flatulence, diarrhea, enemas, VD, prostitutes, first love and so on; in each case, Ames details his adventures with humor, poking incessant fun at himself and his obsessions. Occasionally, his comic timing can seem forced, and the humor shtick; in fact, Ames is a performance artist as well as a writer. But more often the book is laugh-aloud funny and delightfully wry. Above all, though, it's suffused with a wonderful compassion and sense of tolerance--Ames likes to hang with transvestites and considers his closest friend an amputee misfit whose claim to fame is the Mangina, an artificial vagina he wears onstage. There are strong echoes of Henry Miller here, in Ames's embrace of the human condition in all its variants, but Ames is his own man, his own writer (with an elegant, assured prose style)--and deserves hordes of his own fans.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ames's work can usually be found in the New York Press column "City Slicker," and this is a collection of some of these columns. Ames chronicles his life's adventures, from delayed puberty through venereal warts, crabs, enemas, and blowjobs on the streets of Venice. The book jacket warns you that Ames "often crosses the line of 'good taste,' " which is quite true: this is definitely tongue-in-cheek, cosmopolitan humor. His warped adventures may shock some readers, although obviously his column has fans. The book focuses on stereotypically male topics like sex, drugs, and bodily functions. If you enjoy reading about the joys of producing an erection while holding in gas, this is the book for you. There are insightful moments that provide a glimpse into the struggles men face--baldness, penis size, part-time fatherhood. Seriously, there is some good stuff here for the reader who doesn't mind taking an outrageous path to get to it. Recommended for large public libraries.
-Kathy Ingels Helmond, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hard to believe Ames could make some of these topics so comical. And he puts them forth in such a way that you're not sure if you're laughing AT him or WITH him. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2003
I got this book the day after seeing the hilarious Jonathan Ames on Letterman, and what a treat! He's one of the most candid and funny writers I've ever read. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2003 by "slugsandkisses"
What was always ingenious about Spalding Gray's raconteurism was his way of explaining in very rational terms the way he'd made a total mess out of his life. Read morePublished on Dec 17 2002 by Jimmy Legs
Are you uncomfortable with stories about sex, farts, poops, or foreign objects in your food? If so, then you ought to relax and learn to laugh about life. Read morePublished on May 17 2002 by John Brawley
Forget Eggers and Sedaris, Ames is the real deal. Funny, sweet, and unpretentious. Eggers is so overtly clever that he makes you sick, and Sedaris is humorous mainly because of... Read morePublished on May 13 2002 by k
it was ok but not that good. it was trying to hard to be funny so it wasn't very funny like dave eggers or nick hornby or those guys who are more "real' writers instead of... Read morePublished on April 10 2002 by steve
THEN READ THIS BOOK!!! For here you will not find tales of a misunderstood old man or unique black boy that some annoying liberal chic met doing volunteer work year's ago or any... Read morePublished on March 16 2002 by "mikapl01"
Jonathan Ames is a brilliant and brave writer. His frank accounts about his sex life, his sexuality, his childhood and his friends and family are moving and hilarious. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2001 by Wendy C.
Reading "What's Not to Love" is like travelling with Walter Middy to a sex shop or getting to know the secret life of Woody Allen. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2001 by Lee Armstrong