DEAR DEAD PERSON by Benjamin Weissman

DEAR DEAD PERSON

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Weissman gathers all that is ugly, vulgar, obscene, scary, disgusting, dangerous, sick, tragic, and sad to create a debut collection that offers a refreshing, nauseating, hilarious, deranged take on human nature. In these stories what at first seems average suddenly, or sometimes stealthily, turns perverse. A man returning home from a a job ""too bland and pitiful"" to name, dreams of the only thing in life he looks forward to -- eating his favorite cherry-filled cookie; he breaks down when he discovers that his dog has beaten him to it. A woman who never wanted to be anything but a mother refuses to lose her son to his new wife, so she hires two hoodlums to decapitate her in order to get him back. A young boy gives a detailed account of his day, including church (""I want to go to hell because in hell the dead run around with no clothes on and I can spend all day staring"") and a trip to the museum, where he wanders away from his parents and has sex with a naked girl in a painting. A 16-year-old birthday girl seduces her older brother by talking dirty to him over breakfast. A serial killer who keeps favorite body parts (torsos and heads) in a valise for sexual release, explains how ""killing, cutting up little boys has made me a better person."" A Christian Scientist reprimands his son for thinking that ""just because his mother is dead we should bury her."" And a father thanks a dead person for having a car accident and enlivening his family's road trip. While these tales can be too much when read all at once, we come to understand when a man who kills his friends because he loves to eulogize them says ""no matter how pathetic I become it amazes me how there's always room to get worse."" A blood-and-guts account of the real American Dream.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: High Risk/Serpent's Tail -- dist. by Consortium