Hello, My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?

Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. Chronicle, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-79720-322-5
Alaska, a RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner, delivers a frank if heavily abridged telling of their life to date in this underwhelming debut. Known offstage as Justin Honard, Alaska grew up in small-town Pennsylvania in the 1990s as a gay boy who loved Catwoman and dreamed of leaving home for city life. “Aching to have a real drag experience” after seeing a drag show in college, they entered a famous drag contest in Pittsburgh and won, crystallizing that they “could actually be a successful Drag queen.” After an ill-fated move to Los Angeles, Alaska fell in love with fellow drag performer Sharon Needles, moved back to Pittsburgh, and the pair were soon cast on Drag Race. But the relationship proved unhealthy, leading to Alaska’s abuse of drugs and alcohol and their eventual breakup, after which the author sobered up. The narrative centers on the tumultuous romance, crowding out pretty much everything else; one Drag Race chapter only offers quick “highlights” from the show (“if you’re reading this... you have likely seen it for yourself”). And while Alaska expresses remorse about using “racist and transphobic slurs” on stage, they avoid any mention of their past antagonism toward trans activists. The result is a patchy midlife story that will appeal to Drag Race die-hards, but few others. Agent: Thomas Flannery Jr., Vigliano Assoc. (Nov)
Reviewed on : 07/20/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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