Title: It Feels So Good When I Stop
Author: Joe Pernice
This is basically slacker fiction, about a white, 20-something [nameless narrator] who bolts his marriage after only one day. Not sure what the point of not naming the narrator is exactly. Is it supposed to make him more of an “everyman,” a concept that I’ve always found rather pretentious? That particular descriptor doesn’t seem to quite fit this book. Maybe Pernice just never got around to naming the character. Sort of like the “you” in Bright Lights, Big City, which I’ve read many times, and I’m still not sure where the main character’s name is actually mentioned, if at all. Maybe Pernice is paying homage to BLBC. Who knows? Does it matter?
It’s set in 1996 and from what I can gather I’d be about the same age as the narrator. In 1996, I was graduating with my MFA from Western Michigan, after which I hung around Kalamazoo for a couple more years, teaching adjunct at the university and working maintenance and cleaning at Oasis Hot Tubs.
I like this book. I’m still in the midst of it, though. Good narrative drive. Witty. Sarcastic. And just the right amount of pop culture references; doesn’t feel forced, like the dude is trying too hard. Of course, I particularly love the music references, something I wished I was better at in my own writing, but my knowledge of music is simply not very sophisticated (is it redundant to say “simply not very sophisticated”?).
I have to say after starting strong, though, the first part seemed to rush to an end, with an incident that seemed perhaps overly dramatic and then isn’t really dealt with afterwards, or at least not yet. It’s not a big deal. Not something I’d call a flaw even. More of a quirk really.
I wasn’t familiar with Pernice before I picked up this book. Or rather I wasn’t aware that I was familiar with him. He appeared on TV show the Gilmore Girls, which my wife loves. I like it too, for it’s very GenXness, especially the sarcastic, quick-tongued humor, and boundless pop culture references.
This is the kind of book I wished I could write, not just in subject matter, but in size. My writing tends to spiral out of control, growing and growing like an invasive species or something. I’d like to be able to keep it more…controlled, you know. Condensed. I think that creates an energy in the prose.