The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker
Michael du Plessis
Perhaps the first conceptualist novel for young adults. Jon Benet meets Kathy Acker in a rollicking coming-of-age tale set in the snowglobe of Boulder, Colorado. With guest appearances by Little Lord Fauntleroy, H. P. Lovecraft, the Blue Fairy, a wind-up Walter Benjamin, a soft-toy Cthulhu, O (from The Story of O), and many more. Neither tribute nor pastiche, Memoirs investigates the “self” of very-late-capitalism in a collage of all that is right, and terribly wrong, in America.
Praise for The Memoirs
“Through the extravagant expenditure of its accumulated riches, Memoirs performs a kind of literary potlatch as if there were no tomorrow. But unlike a Trobriand Island clan chief, du Plessis cannot see or know that there is a recipient of all this gift-giving. And in that, he is like every true writer, burning up the very certainty that these gifts are his to give. ‘I don’t know who’s writing this,’ he writes, leaving to others the chance to read and receive it as they may. It is a chance that you can now look forward to.”
– from the Introduction by Peggy Kamuf
“In The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker, an astonishing and pleasurable clarity brings to life a narrative. Human is joined to doll is joined to dead is joined to never living. Never having seen this landscape or heard these voices, I’m floored by this book. Everyone and everything that appears here is alive.”
– Amina Cain
“A chapter that I love because it first made me want to laugh out loud and then riled me up in agreement and then made me realize that whoever was speaking was just making shit up as they went along (but then again that’s what I’m doing right now) is…”
Click here to read the rest of Impossible Mike’s review on HTMLGiant.
A review by Megan Milks at Tarpaulin Sky
A review by Laura Woollett at Voiceworks