Legs Get Led Astray: Essays

Chloe Caldwell, Author
Chloe Caldwell. Future Tense (www.futuretensebooks.com), $13.50 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-892061-42-3
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Stories about the author masturbating face-down on her mother's bed, eating a "guilt-free blue cheese burger" after an orgy, and dropping everything to run to the ex-lover who taught her how to melt and snort heroin will likely keep this collection off some readers' nightstands. But for those willing to delve into the sordid and searingly honest slices of life that Caldwell presents here, the payoff is a sexy and surprisingly heartfelt journey that brings the uncertainty, joy, and despair of young adulthood vividly to life. The title comes from the lyrics of "Last Love Song For Now" by indie rock band Okkervil River, which Caldwell uses as an epigraph and often listened to while writing these essays. It's an appropriate title: when one goes astray—as Caldwell often does—surprising things can happen. For Caldwell, this seems to be a greater understanding of who she is, and more importantly, what she is, which is good, caring, and decent. For the reader, going astray means getting happily lost in the prose of Caldwell's daring, compelling, and graceful debut. (Apr.)
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