The “My-Fucked-Up-Life” share is its own genre now, and has moved past the critique of “We’ve read this already,” which would be like panning a detective novel for featuring another private investigator as narrator.
This Must Be the Place is a scrapbook of prose snapshots, arranged in seemingly random chronological order—from 1988 to 2005 to 1993 and forward and back. Doyle is the voice of a patient in therapy who’s asked to lie down, close his eyes, and free-associate:
“I am in the car with my mother and little sister when a tornado cuts across our block and throws us into the backyard.…”
“I come here after my shift at the record store… waiting for my girlfriend Velvet to get off work so we can go get high.…”
“There is another family in the ICU who has someone they love also in a coma …”
Doyle was a punk rock kid who did a lot of drugs, joined the Navy, did more drugs, was homeless for awhile, was in a cult for awhile, did a lot of stupid shit, and endured both parents’ deaths—in other words, it’s a contemporary memoir. If that summary strikes a chord, and maybe you’ve been spending too much time alone lately. Read it and stir up your isolation. –Jim Woster (Civil Coping Mechanisms, copingmechanisms.net)