Patrick Hughes has written what may very well be the funniest book I have ever read in my life. This is no hyperbole, either. I have spent the last several lunch hours in various fast food locations nearly choking on bad food while reading Diary of Indignities. This book is a collection of stories from the blog posts of Patrick Hughes called badnewshughes.blogspot.com. These stories cover a long range of years from early childhood through the early teen days of discovering punk rock and schooling other kids about how to make a correct homemade circle ‘A’ anarchy T-shirt for which he apologizes with the potato chip-choking funny line, “Mike, I’m here to tell you today that I’m ashamed. A blue terry cloth shirt with a giant, glittery gold anarchy symbol on it is, in fact, the punkest thing in the entire universe.” I nearly choked on a potato chip while reading that very line. The book is full of line after line of the funniest stuff I have ever read.
It hit me recently that this book is really the punk rock version of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs or a very dark Wonder Years. In fact, I dream of the day when I can rent a movie or watch a TV show that is this funny. I have found myself out of breath, gasping for air from laughter reading these stories. Not only are these stories funny situations, but are written in such an amazingly wonderful rant style that I was sad as I would turn each page, knowing I was that much closer to reading the last story.
This book also rings true in ways that I didn’t truly expect. In the descriptions of hanging out with a group of skinheads on a road trip for beer with some weird farmer-looking kid who just sort of latched on to the crowd was so familiar to me. It just all rang so true. But even if you don’t have those same feelings of déjà vu, you can’t deny the great writing and dark, dark humor.
Go out today, online, or wherever you buy books, and get two copies of Diary of Indignities. –Tim Jamison (M Press, 10956 SE Main, Milwaukie, OR 97222, mpressbooks.com)