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on April 13, 2013 :
Sex Lives of Misfits is such a good time. I lived in the Domincan Republic for a few years and somehow this crazy and eclectic book captures the insanity and the spirit of the place. I remember sitting in a beach bar there with buddies and watching the world go by and stories from this book would play out over and over again every day. I would always think that somebody should write a book and Frank Genao has done it.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on April 11, 2013 :
Each time my Labrador retriever patrols the yard to do her business; she stops at the mailbox post to sniff, interminably so, the excreted calling cards of the neighborhood mutts that are driven to use it as a urinal. While her olfactory interpretation of the post/urinal is known only to her, what is clear is that she is compelled to sniff… and sniff she does, until my stern commands terminate the outing. I believe that she would stand at the post and sniff all day, possibly in the K9-fantasy that the post will suddenly and magically transform into something deliciously consumable and, perhaps, more pleasure fulfilling, e.g. her metal food bowl that miraculously fills with Purina Chow twice daily. The Sex Lives of Misfits by Frank Genao, for the last week, has been my mailbox post. I find myself drawn back, compelled to sniff, sniff and sniff again. I’m not sure about the scent only that I MUST SNIFF. Inexplicably, Sex Lives touches a K-9, or even reptilian, pleasure point in my aberrant human cerebellum.
Think P.J. O’Rourke without the sanctimony, East coast cynicism, nor Johns Hopkins English M.A. vocabulary and you’ve got Genao’s refreshingly honest, decidedly earthly and always entertaining writing style. While there are stylistic faux pas (which rest squarely on the editor’s shoulders) the core content is as pleasurably digestible as Dominican rice & beans but with enough hot sauce as to induce massive Presidente beer swilling. The result is a full stomach, a good buzz and a block of time that has mysteriously evaporated.
While the eccentricities of Genao’s characters may at times seem excessively developed, anyone who has spent time warming a barstool while quaffing beer in the Caribbean will tell you that these people actually EXIST, metaphorically, in all the color, bizarreness and, yes, repugnancy offered up in the tome. And “tome” it is! Let’s just say the electronic-only publication prevented the clearing of a small forest. Albeit lengthy, the short, mini-story chapters (169 chapters, in all, none more than a few pages) allow an ease of reading and heighten the anticipation for the next… anticipation, of the type experienced when a barmaid is a nanosecond tardy in refilling your empty.
The Sex Lives of Misfits could be interpreted either as an experiential account or a window to the mind of the author. Genao is simultaneously: perceptive and naïve; profound and superficial; bias and non-judgemental, focused and ADHD … well, mostly ADHD. Those of us similarly afflicted easily recognize a format designed for us in Sex Lives. These dichotomies are, in such a strange and perverse way, entrancing and keep us craving more (with 169 chapters, as it turns out, satiation seems, perpetually, only a page away.)
Is this a book that needed to be written? Lord, NO! Yet, Genao has opened the door on his tiny corner of the planet and expounds a kaleidoscope of it’s occupants’ twisted antics, psychological quirks and moral depravities that somehow make us feel (a) that it’s OK to release our inner-eccentric just a bit and (b) think better of ourselves by comparison. At the same time, it points us to a mythical place on the globe where we may flee for fellowship when, at last, we discover that we each are misfits in our present environs. Who other than a beach bartender could offer this up? Bravo, Frank!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)