Sea Monkeys: A Memoir

Kris Saknussemm. Soft Skull (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-59376-448-7
This memoir by novelist Saknussemm (Zanesville) of life in late 1960s California—much of which has already appeared in more than a dozen literary journals—is for the most part surprisingly pedestrian, enlivened only by certain chapters that are crafted like great short stories. While Zanesville was a hologram-filled black comedy, the author’s memoir is a fairly straightforward look back at points in his life—including schools, teachers, friends, and early loves. While his social observations are often banal (“The Cold War and the Dick Clark disease of television go claw in glove”), his psychological insights are sharp, especially in a short account of his being raped at age nine. And a much longer piece, “Mr. Very Late Night,” about being the only white D.J working the graveyard shift at a black radio station, is a superb piece of writing about how he turned his music program into a call-in show that touched “a congregation of strangers,” putting his finger “straight on a vibrating harmonic nerve of the red taillight central coast California vampire redemption hour.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-59376-494-4
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