It’s Alright: A Truckface Anthology Volume One: By LB Briggs, 360 pgs. By Sean Arenas

Personal zines are a mixed bag. The enjoyability of reading about someone’s daily activities entirely depends on the likability of the writer, the focus of the content, and the excitement conjured from everyday minutia. I’ve read some coma-inducing perzines with absolutely no filter. Sure, it may be healthy for a writer to stream out pages upon pages of cat anecdotes and confused, humorous diatribes, but I have absolutely no interest in consuming them. Thankfully, It’s Alright (collected here are issues seven through eleven of Truckface) is a zine collection that is well-written, rich with insightful anecdotes, and bares all its brittle bones—although lacking a singular focus and a tad overly dense.

LB is appreciably blunt. She fillets the fat attributed to non-fiction writing and exposes the bullshit of daily American life. Each zine is a densely packed account of minor day-to-day atrocities. From peddling rancid food at a cut-rate deli to a paranoid old lady slashing her bicycle tires, her nearly becoming a fetishized hairy armpit model, to contemplating the mysterious woman who consistently urinates on the toilet seat at work, these stories are equally as obscene as they are endearing. Somehow LB pirouettes between yuck and yay.

The sheer density of this anthology is astounding. Some of the zines collected run over sixty whopping pages, but zine anthologies, much like discographys, are typically hit-or-miss. I found myself burrowing into the over three hundred page collection, wondering if some sections could have been edited out for both length and quality. Yet, grumbling that there is too much content isn’t a ding so much as I just wish that this was a greatest hits collection rather than a compendium, because the standout sections are sandwiched between less savory slices that could have been left on the cutting board.

Ultimately, perzines are not innately objective driven, like fiction or record reviews, as they tend to meander, but each issue of Truckface is representative of a significant time in Briggs’ life. Issue seven documents low-wage drudgery, issue eight is her leaving her comfort zone and traveling abroad, and, finally, issue eleven finds Briggs’ slouching into adulthood through employment in public education. Issue eleven is especially cohesive compared to some of the more roughly assembled middle issues. LB seems to be the most centered when recording her misadventures at various schools with a multitude of young people. By the end, I became attached to Briggs’ voice, like a friend who’s willing to tell it like it is. I can see myself seeking out her company through more recent issues of Truckface. –Sean Arenas (Mend My Dress Press, mendmydress.com)