BODY, REMEMBER by Kenny Fries

BODY, REMEMBER

A Memoir
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A beautifully written, moving memoir by a disabled poet and playwright who explores both the scars on his body and those on his psyche. Fries, now 35, was born with seriously malformed legs and feet that numerous surgeries and years of treatment have not been able to rectify. In the eyes of his working- class Orthodox Jewish mother, it could have been worse--he could have been a girl. In this often painfully revealing account, Fries examines his disability, his homosexuality, his relations with his physically abusive father and his resentful and sexually abusive older brother, his fears about relationships with other men, and his own search for identity. Always aware of his physical difference from other children, by adolescence he understood that sexually he was different, too. After college, an extended visit to Israel in 1984 introduced him to the lives and lifestyles of other Jewish gay men, including one who, like him, was disabled. Returning to the United States, he spent nearly five years in San Francisco with his HIV-positive lover, an affair that seemed doomed from the outset and ended shortly after Fries found himself becoming an abuser. Details of his continued physical decline and of a nervous breakdown that hospitalized him are sketchy, his writing life is barely mentioned, and the sequence of events may not always be clear, but connections are made. This is a deeply personal memoir, not a history, and what the author chooses to omit does not diminish it. On the jacket is a photograph of Fries as a young boy standing alone in the shallow end of a swimming pool, the water concealing his legs below the thighs, while both his hands clutch a railing. His journey from the safety of the shallows to a rich, loving, and productive life is a memorable story. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-94162-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1996