Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison

3 Stars

It began with the voice of an innocent little child saying "I’m going to read Mommy’s book for reading time tonight" – followed by Mommy’s scream of NOOOOOOO, DON’T READ THAT!!!!!. The story then moves into the kitchen where the husband asks what’s so wrong with this book that the boy-child can’t touch it? The wife’s answer? Wellllllllll, you see, it’s a memoir of a woman telling the story of her incestuous relationship with her father. Husband’s response? "You read some f*&%d up s#@t!"

I blame it all on Augusten Burroughs. While reading "Possible Side Effects", Burroughs tells of his dream of being awarded a $57,000,000 settlement for swallowing a bottlecap (because there is no warning on bottlecaps saying they should not be swallowed). He said he would then use some of his winnings to send paperback copies of "The Kiss" to all of his friends and relatives. I immediately searched out "The Kiss" on Goodreads and after reading the synopsis laughed solidly for 10 minutes at Burroughs' warped humor.

"The Kiss" is just as disturbing as the synopsis would leave one to believe. Fortunately, it is not filled with gory details of the affair, but the raw emotion and obvious mental-health issues that go along with this darkest of taboos is palpable. As my husband so eloquently put it, "are you INSANE?  Normal people don't read this stuff!"

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