Saturday, September 3, 2011

Diary of an Emotional Idiot

I just finished re-reading Diary of an Emotional Idiot by Maggie Estep.  I read it for the first time when I was in high school, and loved it, but haven't re-read it in a long time.  It's still great. 

Zoe has snuck into her ex-boyfriend Satan's condo, and is hiding in his closet.  While she waits for him to get home, she takes us back and forth through time, describing how she got to this point.  The details of her life as a junkie, of her various friends and boyfriends and neighbors, of her jobs ranging from cleaning the bathroom of her drug dealer to working in a cardboard box factory to being the receptionist at a dungeon, spill out achronologically and addictively.  I couldn't put the book down.

What struck me this time is how 1990s some of the details are, which I loved.  It was published in 1997, so this makes sense, after all, but it's interesting, since when I first read it I certainly didn't notice this.  She talks about girls wearing itty-bitty backpacks, and alternative rockers, and tongue-piercings, and Nine Inch Nails. 

It's so odd how in the present everything feels normal, and the music you listen to and the clothes you wear aren't cultural signifiers of a particular time, illustrating things about that era.  They're just the stuff you like.  It's normal.  But then fifteen years pass and things stick out as symbolic, or funny, or nostalgic, or whatever. 

Anyway, Maggie Estep is awesome, and I can't wait to get my hands on some of her other books.

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