Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"It is totally appropriate to have alien sex in public, even on their planet." — Alicia LaRosa on Lizzy Acker's Monster Party

Monster Party, by Lizzy Acker, is a genius collection of short stories that tie together the reality of interpersonal relationships, human and not.
Each story, in and of itself, is beautifully crafted. Moving from different ages, children to adults, Acker pushes the boundaries of what is proper and what actually exists in reality. And then, just when you get comfortable with what you’re reading, feeling as if you could snuggle up with these people and their problems—the aliens visit. They don’t just visit, however. They show you how you simply love wrong, have sex the wrong way, and that you wouldn’t even know that they’re having sex right in front of you. But “it is totally appropriate to have alien sex in public, even on their planet.”
When you think you’re comfortable with those perfect, sexual aliens, different creatures show up that are even more bizarre in a wonderful, spectacular way. “I love you baby. Good luck with planet Earth.”
Personally, my favorite thing about this collection of stories is how one element, no matter how small—like an image or a feeling—finds its way into another story, another set. At first I thought I was imagining things—which isn’t a hard thing to do—but when the aliens and their lovemaking found their way into another story, in another set, I knew it was more deliberate than not. The bottle rockets, the basement: everything has its purpose. Nothing is left out. The hints and pieces of the puzzle are intricately laced into the full collection.
Lizzy Acker, author of Monster Party
These stories are full of such raw emotion, so much that it is impossible to put the book down until finished. The title story, “Monster Party,” is one of the most emotional stories of all, as repressed as it is. “I suddenly don’t want to tell him, but here I am. I have to. I put all the parts of the machine together all by myself and all that’s left now is to turn on the electricity.” As the reader, I wanted the narrator to scream, cry, punch, and kick her way into the heart of the man she cared about. “I try to think tougher, like a boy would, or like a terrorist or a serial killer. I open the party mix and my skateboard rolls around over my head.”

Soon, I will also take her initiative and put my name in multiple stories of my own collection. “This hasn’t occurred to me before and it seems like a brilliant solution, a dream solution.” Ballsy move, but one that emphasizes the emphasizable.
Each story is worth reading, down to the last word. Whether you can relate to the stories, pick them up and chew on them to reveal their taste, or simply stare at the words until they come together and slap you in the face with meaning—this book is worth the time.

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