Synopses & Reviews
"Jonathan Ames is one of the funniest writers in America," so says Jonathan Ames, who is actually writing this flap copy, which is the publishing industry term for the boastful fluff you read on the inner portion of most hardcover book jackets. So let the truth be known: Most writers write or at least rewrite their flap copy. And why not? They are writers after all. For the flap copy on my last novel, I had the audacity to pronounce that I was one of America's most talented young writers. My mother read that and was very proud, pointing it out to me. I then said to her, "I wrote that." But she was still proud; she probably didn't believe that I wrote it. In fact, she doesn't believe most of what I tell her, but that's probably because she couldn't take it if she did believe me. Which is a good way to describe this book, this comic autobiography: It's the kind of book one's mother shouldn't read, though there are several passages where I profess my great Oedipal love and desire for my mother, which she might find flattering. What else recommends this book, or, rather, what recommends me, since this book is about me. Well, I'm bald and ribald, I'm like Rabelais and Danny Kaye, sometimes I'm straight and sometimes I'm gay. Well, not really. I'm almost never gay, but it rhymed nicely with Kaye, and also I tend to be depressed rather than gay. But I do like to make others laugh, so if you're standing in a bookstore, I hope you'll find this book funny and I hope that you'll move on to my introduction, where I'll further implore you to keep reading, with the idea that you'll eventually purchase the book, which is the point, by the way, of flap copy.
"[Ames's] lapidary prose style rapidly seduces the reader into taking his pleasures with him....[T]here is also a light beauty to the ephemeral, a beauty Ames conjures up in countless joyous scatological and ejaculatory moments." The New York Times Book Review
"The publisher likens Ames's first nonfiction book to 'a twisted man's version of Candace Bushnell's classic, Sex and the City.' But that comparison does Ames a disservice. Not only can this novelist (I Pass the Night; The Extra Man) and former New York Press columnist (the book is a collection of his columns) write circles around Bushnell, as well as around Ames's fellow ex-Press sex columnist, Amy Sohn, but Ames's columns reveal a sweet, wide-open soul, despite their outre subject matter....Occasionally, his comic timing can seem forced, and the humor shtick; in fact, Ames is a performance artist as well as a writer. But more often the book is laugh-aloud funny and delightfully wry. Above all, though, it's suffused with a wonderful compassion and sense of tolerance Ames likes to hang with transvestites and considers his closest friend an amputee misfit whose claim to fame is the Mangina, an artificial vagina he wears onstage. There are strong echoes of Henry Miller here, in Ames's embrace of the human condition in all its variants, but Ames is his own man, his own writer (with an elegant, assured prose style) and deserves hordes of his own fans." Publishers Weekly
"These pieces...soar with Ames's original wit and generous spirit. Apart from a gag-inducing account of lower intestinal parasites, what's not to love?" Margot Mifflin, Entertainment Weekly
"The individual episodes, chapters, rhapsodies call them what you will in What's Not to Love? are so beguiling, so insouciant, so seemingly breathed onto the page, that it's impossible to miss the fact that the memoir, book, collection call it what you will as a whole has the formal elegance and perfect wholeness of one of Ames's two extraordinary novels." Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
"A mildly perverted, mildly humorous compilation of Ames's New York Press columns into one chunky memoir of sex-ridden angst....Oddly, the most amusing parts of Ames's memoirs are the ones not specifically related to his own sex life: the stories of him defecating on himself (both in the south of France and New York City) portray a sense of urgency perhaps only experienced by one with equally explosive bowels, whereas his friend's invention of the 'mangina' provides the most fruitful exploration into new and dizzying perversions. Angst-ridden sex is funny, a' la Philip Roth; tongue-in-cheek memoirs are funny, a' la David Sedaris. Ames can be their water-boy for now, and maybe he'll join their company when he lets his humor develop organically rather than throwing it into the reader's face." Kirkus Reviews
"A lively, funny, and utterly frank account of a young man's journey, fraught with personal discoveries. An extraordinary guidebook!" George Plimpton
Based on the author's column in The New York Press, What's Not to Love? is a collection of audacious, outrageously revealing, and often wildly funny stories about life today in the big city.
Perhaps all of Jonathan Amess problems and the genesis of this hilarious book can be traced back to the late onset of his puberty. After all, it cant be easy to be sixteen with a hairless undistinguishable from that of a five year olds.
This wonderfully entertaining memoir is a touching and humorous look at life in New York City. But this is life for an author who can proclaim my first sexual experience was rather old-fashioned: it was with a prostitute an author who can talk about his desire to be a model for the Hair Club for Men and about meeting his son for the first time.
Often insightful, sometimes tender, always witty and self-deprecating, Whats Not to Love? is an engaging memoir from one of our most funny, most daring writers.
About the Author
Jonathan Ames is the author of the novels I Pass Like Night and The Extra Man, and writes the popular column "City Slicker" for The New York Press. He lives in New York City, where he performs frequently as a storyteller in theaters and nightclubs. His one-man show, Oedipussy, debuted off-off-Broadway in 1999. He was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.