Please Buy This Book So I Can Feel Validated & (Finally) Love Myself, By Homeless, 232 pgs.

Homeless is a NYCbased author and artist whose unique style and perspective, as well as an obsession with fast food, are consistent across the three different formats of writing that comprise the three sections of this book. The author’s gleefully dark and offbeat sense of humor effortlessly offsets heavy themes like relationships, depression, death, and pizza, making Please Buy This Book So I Can Feel Validated & (Finally) Love Myself a gratifying and highly entertaining read.

The first section is a novella entitled “EX-KIDS,”   which follows a new couple from strange doorstep to even stranger doorstep as they deliver pizzas in an attempt to scrape together enough tip money to afford unlimited soup and breadsticks at Olive Garden (yes, you read that right). Along the way, standard themes like love, abandonment, and aging are tackled and subjected to the author’s hilariously dry humor and unique perspective. In “EX-KIDS,” Homeless gives nods to writers like Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan, but the nod to Kurt Vonnegut is especially notable, as the novella shares the playful almost self-indulgent surrealism that was the foundation of Vonnegut’s iconic Breakfast of Champions.

The second section, “CRAPbook,” is a collection of poetry.   At first, the poems seem to be a little too full of embraced depression and self-pity for my tastes. However, once you get a few poems in, the author’s subtle sense of humor reveals itself. I find myself cracking up as he describes the inside of a dirty microwave as a comparative reference to his mental state. The subject matter hits everywhere from funny, sometimes raunchy observation to dark, existential self-confrontation. I’m not really a poetry guy, but this section comes together very neatly as one piece in which Homeless does a fantastic job at capturing the “alone in a crowd” (for better or worse) feeling of life on the city streets.

The third and final section, “LITTERature,” made up of six short stories, was my favorite part of the book. Merging the best elements of the novella and the poetry sections, Homeless uses his dark humor and uncommon sense of humanity to tell stories that are simultaneously genuinely somber and absurdly funny. This section deals with many of the same themes as the last two: Mortality, loneliness, urban alienation, McDonalds, etcetera.   The tale of the elderly Sid Vicious is a stand out. Although the stories are naturally short, none of the pieces feel incomplete. Instead, they read more as a slice of life, or maybe a slice of death, depending on how funny you want to get.

According to notes included in the book, an alternate (and probably better, in my opinion) title was The Crumpled Egg McMuffin Wrapper Where My Heart Should Be… and that sums it up pretty well. It’s a fun, quick read that could probably be done in one not-too-busy day off work. –Buddha (House Of Vlad, houseofvlad.bigcartel.com)