Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stuff Everybody Should Read #2

Like all great writers, Jim Thompson's fiction was about 90% non-fiction.  His life was as wild and bizarre as any of the characters or situations he created in his novels.  Like all great authors, themes and motifs showed up time and again in his work and the reason is because they were crucial elements of his real life and, thus, his fiction was a place he could put them on a canvass and look at them from a distance.  I don't know if it helped him psychologically, as we would probably like to believe.  He still died from complications brought on by the gallons of booze he drank.  This suggests to me that his writing never did quite cure him of the demons he picked up as a bellboy at a hotel during prohibition, or his terrifying encounter with a psychotic deputy in Texas.  To get Thompson's most honest account of these and other outrageous episodes in his life, pick up the first of two autobiographical books he wrote, Bad Boy.  At times the book can be very sad, but for the most part, you will laugh until your gut collapses.  This is one of the most entertaining reads you will ever encounter.

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