There's a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From
by Bryan Charles
I came upon this book because a customer, Brendan, told me about Open City Magazines and Books. Fortunately I didn't realize it was a memoir until after I ordered it because I'm just not big on reading about other people's dysfunctional families or inspirational lives. The former is embarrassing, creepy and vengeful, the latter narcissistic and self-serving.
But there's always an exception like this truly amazing book which is not about abuse and blame but about the making of a writer who moves from the Midwest and ends up working at the WTC on 9/11.
It's spare and beautiful writing. Like the high points of a journal written by someone who is a terrific writer and editor and brutally honest about himself. He's a sentimental guy who loves women and desperately wants to be a "writer." But when he writes (sharing details) about being really, really desperate to find a bathroom in NYC or not quite making it with a lovely Muslim woman, or doing a sting operation to find out which colleague at Morgan Stanley is complusively filling toilets with toilet paper, or when he's so jealous of a talented and fortunate writer friend that he can't bring himself to keep their date and he actually emails this person to admit his jealousy, that's when I loved this guy.
I'm a sucker for workplace writing, whether it be Studs Terkel (please read Working or give it to a teenager or young adult) or the dark, dark Japanese mystery Out by Natsuo Kirino, or Bartleby the Scrivener by Melville, or Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell.
Bryan Charles captures what it's like to work in a job you hate but keep for the financial perks. And then, 9/11 changes all that.
I highly recommend this book. Let us know if you'd like to order a copy.