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Swish by Joel Derfner
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Swish: 11/14/12

cover art

Swish by Joel Derfner is a memoir of growing up, being gay and trying to figure out what all that means at a deeply personal level.

Although the subtitle, My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever, implies fluff — it's not. Sure, there are moments of humor and Derfner's voice comes through as genuine throughout, but it's certainly not fluff. In terms of tone, it reminds me most of Drew Carey's memoir, Dirty Jokes and Beer.

The second chapter, On Casual Sex, isn't for the Puritan minded reader. It's frank description of numerous sexual encounters. It's a fascinating, depressing, and sometimes mind-boggling chapter. All the chapters take their stated subject with a similar, in depth, obsessed focus.

Mostly though, Swish, asks the reader to reconsider every last gender and sexual orientation stereotype. Reading through the different chapters is like watching Derfner trying each stereotypically gay thing and seeing if it will make him happy.

So did Derfner convince me that he's the gayest person ever? No. Did I enjoy reading the book? Mostly. Will I remember the book? Yes. Do I recommend the book? Yes.

Four stars

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