DEAR DEAD PERSON by Benjamin Weissman


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 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
ISBN: 1-85242-330-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994