cover image The Choke Artist

The Choke Artist

David Yoo. Grand Central, $13.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-446-57345-0

Yoo (Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before) is a gifted YA novelist and comic writer who, by his own recollection, has spent his entire life purposefully underachieving in important moments. From struggles with popularity in kindergarten, to the delicate social battles of high school, to the development of his writing career, Yoo has repeatedly self-sabotaged while on the cusp of potential success. But just as readers are ready to dismiss him as a perennial screw-up, he deftly brings his experiences back to the rawness of his family struggles and he articulates that rarest of memoir experiences: a truly poignant, unexpected epiphany. Yoo shares his stories with candor, and the range of topics—sexuality, work, sibling rivalry, body image issues, and ethnic identity—means readers will never get bored. The essays are well-paced, the delivery is always punchy, and Yoo makes for a sympathetic protagonist. Though at times the themes feel repetitive, it is really more that (like all things in life) his issues overlap. In exorcising these demons, Yoo has crafted a fantastic memoir that will have readers laughing throughout. (June)