Still Life With Brass Pole - Craig Machen
I don't know what to make of this memoir. It was written in a light and engaging manner, but at the same time, Mr. Machen was brutally honest in recounting the events of his youth, events that would have broken a lesser man. I found his natural reactions to these events alternately heartbreaking, amusing, disturbing, uplifting and at times, even bordering on offensive (sorry, but I really am a prude at heart). That one man can be dealt such a lousy hand in life and go on to make something of himself, and still look back and be able to tell his story in such an amusing way is a testament to what an amazing individual he must be.

I do have to admit, when I first saw this book offered on First Reads, I thought it was a work of fiction. When I did not win a copy, I downloaded the Kindle version and discovered my error. I probably would have enjoyed it much more if it had been fiction. It saddens me to think there are parents who would treat kids like that, especially now that I have teens of my own.

That being said, I would love to see this author write a novel in this same style. He's a bit of a creative soul, as per his bio he now makes an apparently successful living as a screenwriter. He certainly wouldn't be the first to perform double duty as a screenwriter and novelist. How about it, Mr. Machen? Do you think you're up to the challenge of writing a novel?