Into Focus: An Exhibitionist's Show & Tell-All by Cameron Arrow

Into Focus: An Exhibitionist's Show & Tell-All

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Anecdotes and observations from a 20-something extrovert’s adventurous youth in mid-2000s Massachusetts.

Readers will know to buckle up for a wild ride ahead when this memoir begins with the question, “What more could a girl want for her 21st birthday than to be kidnapped?” Arrow offers a pseudonymous debut collection of his R-rated, real-life anecdotes and reflective musings. The things he found amusing in his 20s, including meticulously schemed fake abductions, female doctor fantasies, and on-the-job melodrama, will hardly surprise readers, considering his age. However, there’s a brazen, shameless tone to the essays that may give some pause. Throughout, Arrow never sugarcoats his magic-carpet ride through his youth, which is thankfully devoid of excessive drug and alcohol abuse (although the author admits to being a “responsible social drinker and designated driver”). He generously incorporates a lively supporting cast of characters into his self-effacing tales, comically cloaking their true identities with obscure nicknames, such as “Critical Mass” for his best friend; “Firedrill” for his troubled wife; “Little Red Corvette” for a complicated stalker; and “Girl Zero” for his first girlfriend. The author’s fascination with being a mischievous, sex-obsessed prankster surfaces early and recurs often. Readers who enjoy the sophomoric exploits of writers such as Tucker Max will appreciate much of this artfully juvenile material, which often uses provocative chapter titles. “How To Interrupt Fellatio (With Flair!),” for example, details an evening in which he vomited all over his amorous girlfriend, and “The Dating Leftovers” tells of hilarious attempts at online matchmaking. Smartly, the author counterbalances the hypersexual froth with more meaningful chapters, including introspective pieces on love, addiction, and relationships. His profile of young Girl Zero shows their shared fumbling through the messy “tragedy of first love,” and he includes an open apology to his “starter wife” for “unintentionally causing such hurt and confusion in her life.” Begun as a “journal to help me reclaim my voice,” Arrow wears this literary coat of many colors with pride and unapologetic candor.

Explicit, darkly comical slices of a young man’s life, from the sexy to the sentimental.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1496113627
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015