Eating My Feelings
There’s a great memoir about growing up as a fat kid in the suburbs of a Northeastern metropolis and blossoming into a fabulous writer who lives in Manhattan and finally embraces the craziness of his family.
That would be Frank De Caro’s "A Boy Named Phyllis." Mark Brennan Rosenberg’s "Eating My Feelngs" covers much the same territory, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Even if I hadn’t re-read De Caro’s book only a few weeks before I suffered through "Eating," it would still have come across as profoundly shallow, self-absorbed and ephemeral. If, as Truman Capote famously said about Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road," that it was typing, not writing. "Eating" is not writing, it’s blogging. Andy Warhol had it half right: In the future (that’s now), everyone will have written a memoir in 15 minutes.
It’s entirely in keeping with the contents that this book has a cover blurb from a star of a TV show, Alison Arngrim, "Little House on the Prairie," who -- you guessed it -- wrote a memoir. She calls "Eating" author Rosenberg "the gay love child of Ignatius J. Reilly and Chelsea Handler." Perhaps the union of a fat, reclusive suicide whose only novel posthumously won him the Pulitzer Prize-winning in fiction and a snide cable personality whose best-selling vomit has been called the death of literature would look like this.
I don’t know. What I do know is that "Eating" is more of a manuscript than book, two (or three or four) drafts away from anything resembling a coherent narrative.
We learn that the author grew up in an unidentified suburb of Washington, D.C.; that his parents divorced, and his father married someone Rosenberg didn’t like; and that he was a fat gay kid who went to fat camp when all he really wanted was to sing show tunes at a theater camp.