Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Awful Book.

My curiosity was, admittedly, piqued by the title when I saw the book on the "New Nonfiction" shelf at the library: Year of the Cock. So I pulled it off the shelf to look further. The full title is Year of the Cock: The Remarkable True Account of a Married Man Who Left His Wife and Paid the Price, by a guy named Alan Wieder. The cover art is a close-up of a rooster's head, protruding from the open zipper of a pair of men's trousers. For reasons passing understanding, I checked the book out and read it. I really wish I hadn't. This book annoyed the bloody hell out of me. (Spoilers below, if anyone's reading this tripe out of suspense to see how it ends.)

Maybe I was expecting a story of a real emotional journey from love to indifference and back again, but instead...well, instead, I read the story of a self-centered guy's journey from anger to even more anger at his wife to juvenile self-pleasure to bizarre obsession with the size of his "manhood" and back to...hell, I don't know. Is it a story of redemption? No. Failing that, it's not even a story of a man's growing self-awareness, either. It's basically a journey into the mind of a complete ass. Seriously, at very few points in this book did I not want to punch the author, just on general principles.

He's angry with his wife, for reasons that are pretty vague -- he just seems generically self-centered, and angry at her for not being sufficiently focused on him, so he dumps her, out of the blue, and goes off to reclaim his bachelorhood, pretty much having sex with any female who moves, it seems. He treats virtually everyone like crap, he's narcissistic, he has apparently zero regard for anyone's emotions save his own, which are focused on exactly one part of his own anatomy. That he is, in his day job, a teevee producer responsible for "reality" shows like My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance and Temptation Island comes as absolutely no surprise.

That might have been morbidly interesting in some way, although probably not. The book gets downright bizarre and annoying and just plain unpleasant when Our Hero becomes convinced that he just doesn't measure up. Literally. As in, he starts purchasing all those products you see advertised for, you know, "male enlargement". And then he describes how they work and how he uses them and the results of his daily measurements and his growing frustrations thereof. I swear I am not making this up, and it's about as enjoyable to read as it sounds.

Finally, in the end, Our Hero realizes...well, I don't know what the hell he realizes. But he stops trying to embiggen himself and reconciles with his wife, whom he has treated in spectacularly shabby manner. They have a kid together. Happily ever after? Well, no -- in the Afterword, we're informed that it just didn't take and they divorced after all. Good thing they had the kid, huh? And in the end, there's no sense at all that Our Hero recognizes where he has gone horribly, horribly astray in his life -- just a blithe "Oh well, didn't work out, I screwed some stuff up but what-are-you-gonna-do" kind of attitude.

Don't read Year of the Cock. Please oh please.

1 comment:

fillyjonk said...

Wow. That guy is a broken, broken person. It's sad that he doesn't realize that the unhappiness he feels stems from his self-centeredness and the crap way he treats other people.

It's situations like him that keep me from sinking into self-pity when my friends go around making sad noises about how I have 'failed' to marry or find a long-term boyfriend. There really are worse things than being alone.