Friday, April 9, 2010

A memoir

Tell us the title:
A Common Pornography
Who penned this work?:
Kevin Sampsell
How did this piece find it's way to your nightstand?:
I got the book for free from the awesome library convention!
Number of pages:
Time passed from start to finish?:
About 36 hours
Describe the cover:
A chair stands alone in the corner of a room of uncomfortable brown shades.
In what section of the bookstore would a reader find this?:
Summary of the basic plot:
This is the biography/memoir of Kevin Sampsell. It details his life really from childhood to present day.
Background information on the story/author:
Kevin Sampsell works for Powell's Books here in Portland. He grew up around the Spokane area, lived a few other places, and wound up in Oregon.
What did you think of it? (your general response, what you liked or didn't like, what you learned, anything else you want to share about it):
I have to say I loved several things about it! The layout was wonderful. Each 'chapter' was essentially a different memory from his life, and lasted 4 pages at most. It made for a quick read, but it also felt like I was watching family videos, seeing just the highlights of what someone sees as the defining moments in their life. If I ever wrote a memoir of my own, I would want to do it in this style. He did a wonderful job carrying us from his childhood to his adult life with his manner of writing as the book progressed. His blatant honesty was shocking and refreshing, and added so much depth to the story, notably accenting his innocence as a child. His story shows that every family has some dirty little secrets, and sometimes the family itself doesn't know them.
Which page was your favorite? Share why:
Page 31, The chapter called Car-Mull. Whereupon him and his brother convince a neighbor boy to eat bird poo. It takes some guts to admit to doing such a thing.
If the story was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Mmm, that's the thing about a memoir...I can't see anyone but him playing...himself. His dad would definitely be Jon Gries though.
Share a quote that was worth reading twice. Explain why:
(Describing his experience at his dad's funeral): "I hadn't brought a jacket and I was pretty cold. I could barely hear the last formulaic words of the priest and I just wanted to get back in my car. I saw the backhoe behind the crowd, behind a tree, like it was an animal trying to hide from us." To me, this is heartbreaking yet relieving, which I believe the funeral was for him. He's not focused on memories of his dad, and he just sees the blunt honesty of death (the backhoe 'hiding'). He's not listening to the priest, and he just wants to leave. It speaks to the poor relationship he had with his father, which is sad, but also to his acceptance of the loss.
Choose your rating:
- Changed. My. Life.
-I laughed, I cried, I want you to read it.
- A definite page-turner
- Good to check out but don't spend the cash.
- Why did I waste my weekend on this?
- A disgrace to paper everywhere
Flip to page 2, 22, or 202. Share the 7th sentence on the page.
"It was the first time I gave up."

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