Today’s post was made possible by my local county court system. I was able to download and begin reading the book I am reviewing due to the fact that I had to spend the better part of Wednesday in the jury pool room. I was not selected and never saw the inside of the courtroom. I was forced into a state of peace and quiet, without children, television noise, or housework. In short, I chose to do whatever the Hell I wanted (within the confines of that room, kind of). I read without interruption.
A couple of years ago, I picked up “The Holden Age of Hollywood” at my local library. A book that’s so original, it seems to need its own genre to define it. It is one of my favorite reads from that year.
I was curious when I saw that Phil Brody’s new book was a memoir, because it is a departure from his last book. Again, I was not disappointed with ESC, because it takes the memoir genre and twists it into a different kind of ball game. This book winds in, out and through time, without chronology. We meet Phil Brody at different intervals in his life. Sometimes he’s a child, sometimes a naive young adult, a jerk (or a dick, if I want to quote the book), or Carefree Phil.
Sometimes he lies. More aptly, brings you into some cool Walter Mitty imaginary scenes. The best lies involve the scenarios where he escapes from the shackles in his cubicle and the world of advertising. Quitting a job looks like so much fun through his imagination. Pulling a Peter Gibbons* and ditching those damn TPS Reports*. Breaking up with the corporate world to pursue what you love. Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta.
ESC is also a love story, a tribute to Brody’s hometown. Chicago’s character is present everywhere. When he reminisces about his youth, he brings his reader back into his Mid Western World: a world filled with dodge ball games, recess, break dancing and Haiku writing. ESC is book is for every adult who feels constricted by the conventions of adulthood, who longs for the simplicity of 7th grade, a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, or a first apartment. Escape is possible because Phil Brody brings us there with this book.
Bonus Haiku Tribute to ESC:
Brody Ee Es See
Read during jury duty
Read, read, read this now
* and don’t even tell me that you haven’t seen Office Space