I have this reading pile I keep meaning to get to. Liar. I have many
piles of incredible books around the hovel. Lately, I've been reading a lot for reviews, and while I enjoy the books I read (most of them) and pick what I read
(the sites I submit reviews to indulge my eclectic tastes), it's nice to
read something just because and not have to report back to anyone. And
yet - because I love books - I can't resist talking about the ones that
So I'm going to tell you about 35 Cents.
The problem with most memoirs is that few people lead truly interesting
lives. Matty Lee did (and I suspect still does) live an interesting
life - interesting meaning a slow motion train wreck from abused,
neglected child to hustler to "whatever I could get," addict. He spent
time in juvenile detention and court ordered rehab. Tried to reconcile
with his family, but found strangers more accepting. But the thing is -
it's not a real downer of a book. Despite what he lives through, he's
not pointing fingers of blame or looking for pity. It's a "these are
the facts," kind of story. It reminded me a lot of Lars Eighner's Travels With Lizabet, or Alice Walker's stories, where the reader is lead through a
horrible reality with a comforting handhold that seems to say, "It's
okay to look. I promise. I survived this; you can handle reading about
35 Cents offers a refreshing, honest, unromanticized look
at the sexuality of teens, a topic stupidly ignored in this society. I
love stories that explore sexuality and identity. Lee doesn't offer a
definitive answer to whether he's straight or gay (or bisexual) -
because maybe there isn't one.
So go - read it.