Attempting Normal by Marc Maron(5 out of 5)

ImageThis is my favorite biography so far this year. I hadn’t heard of Marc Maron until I read a review in a periodical two weeks ago. Then I ordered it into the store. And bought it. And read it in one day. It’s not a very thick book, and once I read the beginning chapter, I was hooked. 

Marc Maron is a hard-nosed comedian. The type who used to leave the stage and have people say to him, “Comedy? Really?” in disbelief. He’s done television, written a book before this, and is host of the outrageous podcast WTF. WTF indeed. This is nothing less than the cold, ugly truth that has been his life. From his parents doing a number on his psyche to anxiety disorders, a search for love that seems to elude him at every attempt, surrounded by feral cats and his own substance abuse problems, Maron finally has had it. This story is about what happens after rock bottom, but it’s also the unflinchingly honest story of the slow crawl toward the blackness, and what happens when things finally start to even out in his favor. His broken heart(from the second marriage to the girl more than a decade older who gets him sober, after he cheated on wife one with her) leads him to try to heal his brokenness in a variety of eyebrow raising and bizarre ways. Love really does make us do crazy shit. Maron’s memoir is proof of that.

I should add, that as neurotic and angry as you may be with his bluntness on every single line that he’s written in this book, there emerges a story of a man who, despite your wanting to club him over the head with a sanity stick and knock sense into him, has a heart beating deep within, and that’s where your sympathy comes from. When I read the part about the two hookers, I thought, “Oh shit, I’m gonna hate this mofo before I’m done.” No, less than ten sentences later when it becomes apparent that he is sickened with shame, you feel as if the guy has more going on than we know. Once you get into it and read it, you know for a fact that his story could have ended a lot worse. 

Nowadays, Marc Maron is on top of the podcast world with his WTF podcast. I’m not sure if he hit the NYT bestseller list with this one, but it’s a damn shame if he doesn’t. I really, really enjoyed this memoir. It’s ridiculously, brutally honest, at times making you gasp and wince at some of the predicaments he’s gotten himself into and out of.  It reminds me of Bill Maher meeting up with Sam Kinison in a bar and doing a podcast. The discussion about how the podcast came about and how it continues onward, inspiring those out there who have dreams of achieving the same thing, is straightforward and yet leaves you with the distinct impression that if Maron had not struck it gold, where would he have gone? This book would be a whole different treatise. Instead, it hits a home run out of the park. 

Do yourself a favor. If you like to read memoirs about those who battle their demons, conquer them, and find a way to continue to spice up a life that is sometimes littered so much with their own bitterness and cynicism that people make a point to avoid you, then this is the book for you. If you like to read about hard-hitting comedians who go to hell and back determined to find the Gold Rush, this is the book for you. If you simply like a memoir that seems like a car crash into Pompeii but ends up as an El Dorado with the top down filled with topless buxom blondes, then this is the book for you. Whatever scenario applies, shut the hell up and read it. Then convince someone else to do so. I intend to start doing that as soon as possible. 

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~ by generationgbooks on July 3, 2013.

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