Diary of an Emotional Idiot: A Novel

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( 302 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780517701799: Diary of an Emotional Idiot: A Novel

A slyly constructed semi-autobiographical story about a young woman skirting the edge of the '90s, dealing with relationships, her less-than-perfect past, and artistic angst, Diary of an Emotional Idiot is edgy and entertaining--a mesmerizing story of the more surreal aspects of day-to-day living on country back roads and Manhattan's East Village. 192 pp. Author tour. National media & online publicity. 30,000 print.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

MTV's favorite performance artist, a self-styled rebel poet, now commits herself to print in this utterly conventional, at times semi-literate, narrative: an episodic tale of romance in the East Village, with interspersed memories of a screwed-up childhood. Zoe, the posturing narrator of this ``document of Emotional Idiocy,'' is a young woman much like the author: She plays bass guitar, writes porn novels for money, and saves her true self for poetry. She also works part-time as a receptionist in an S&M dungeon, which is perhaps where she learns to be so blas‚ about sextalk. Zoe's ``emotional idiocy'' no doubt results from her dysfunctional past. Her parents divorced early on, and she grew up in places as varied as Colorado and France. Later, she joined her itinerant father as he bummed from job to job as a horse-stable manager. Eventually, though, she ends up living in a New York tenement, where her neighbors include hookers, junkies, strippers, a Heavy Metal guy, a Hefty Lesbian, Japanese fashion students, and a superintendent with an unusually long penis. She and her best friends join together to form Idiots Anonymous, a group with membership restricted to ``dope fiends, sex addicts, or thieves.'' Such is the cool world of la vie bohŠme: Zoe herself studies Burroughs's Junkie, makes the obligatory pilgrimage to Morocco, becomes a ``shaky junkie chick,'' and then detoxs and rehabs. Her desultory sex life includes lots of bad guys, masturbation, and some obligatory lesbianism. In the narrative's present time, she's keeping vigil in the closet of her latest ex, a.k.a. ``Satan.'' Poetical outbursts (e.g., she's ``scrubbing the metaphoric toilets of love'') only add to the pretentious claptrap here. Heroin chic, S&M chic, ``the arts'' as a lifestyle choice--all sound like a great idea for a Broadway musical, if only Jonathan ``Rent'' Larsen hadn't gotten there first. (Author tour) -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Zoe is in Satan's closet ("Satan" is what Zoe calls her ex-boyfriend). She let herself into his apartment and closet to tie him up while he sleeps so she can degrade him as revenge. Meanwhile, she tells in flashback how she arrived here (physically and emotionally) and how she joined the "emotional idiots" (friends of hers addicted to food, sex, or drugs), whom she manages to depict as average people trying to balance their desires with society's demands. Estep is a performance artist, and the tone of her first novel is conversational. Zoe's worldview and way of communicating are strong but charming. She sympathizes with the book's many quirky characters. Although they often act irrationally, their actions ring true if one does not analyze or criticize their motives. Ranging from small towns in Pennsylvania through a visit to Tunisia, a stint in Boulder, Colorado, and ending up in New York City, Zoe's story reminds the reader just how magical and random every person's journey is--whatever closet they may be in. Kevin Grandfield

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