Work was cancelled today, so I took a detour to Alexander Book Company which is right across the street from the bus stop. I looked through a shelf of books and decided to see if they had a book I’ve been stalking on Amazon for months, but too cheap to buy. I asked them if they had Jesus’s Son and they were sold out. So, I decided to look for something else.
Then, one of the workers came up to me and made a recommendation based off of my infatuation with Jesus’s Son. He pulled the paperback book from its home on the shelf and handed it to me. I looked at the country-looking cover with the brown empty landscape and the damaged and abandoned car, and in my head I said I have never been into rural or country type stories. He told me to read the back and see if I like it, and that he would not be offended if I didn’t. I felt like it would be rude to diss a book someone loves (I use to argue about Twilight all the time in middle school and high school hahaha) because there’s a reason they love it whether it is a part of their identity or is similar to an experience of theirs, you simply never diss a book or author someone loves. So, I tried really hard to like it, but the first story in the collection of stories was not pulling me in in the first two sentences.
So, I flipped to another story in the collection. It started, “One of the man’s hands gripped Audry’s wrists above her head. Forced them to the ground. She bucked her pelvis up. Wanted him off of her. The other hand groped the rounded shapes beneath her soiled wifebeater. Her eyes clasped. Held tears. The man’s tobacco-stained lips and bourbon breath dragged against her neck…”. I know it’s kind of twisted that that passage is what drawed me in, but I just wanted to know more. Like, what was happening with this woman? Turns out she was sold as a sex worker I believe. They talked about money in another country and cancer and other things. It was intriguing. It made me buy the book.
I tucked the book under my arm and looked around the other shelves. The worker came up to me again and warned me about how telling me about the book made him look at the reviews because he hadn’t read it in a while. He said it’s very dark, violent, and full of drugs and rape and other bleak stuff. I said I love dark books! I write dark stuff! I like it. He did that two more times while I walked around, so I guess it gets very dark and crazy.
After my eyes flickered across The Circle, a book about Hitler, and other best-sellers, I headed to the counter. As one of the workers rung me up, the worker who recommended the book told me one of the reviews said after the first few stories, it feels like a Quentin Tarantino movie. I have actually never watched any of his movies, so I don’t know what that means. Ha. As I swiped my card, he told me again how crazy this book is and if I end up not liking it I have so many days to return it. All of his caution made me even more excited to read the book. I never really read about rural or southern places or characters, but I like this one so far. Maybe I will start to read more books like it in the future.
It’s called Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill. It’s a collection of short stories that deal with different “dark things” like: drugs, sex, money, and other things that entail and/or lead to crime.
By the way, if you are ever in San Francisco, go to Alexander Book Company off Market Street on Second street. They have great customer service (I was not exaggerating about his warnings, it was great and honest. Ha.). Plus, it’s THREE FLOORS of books! It’s amazing. I stand in front of it every Tuesday when I go to one of the schools I work at, and I never walked inside the whole schoolyear I stood in front of it until today. I will definitely be back. And, hopefully next time they will have Jesus’s Son back in stock. Or, another great recommendation will do because this book of stories is great so far.