Paul Thomas Anderson was the one that hooked me—so I already know a lot about the guy. His past life is a constant hum in the background of every episode. However, opening this book at a couple random pages presented things I wasn’t expecting to see.
Agh! Marc’s having weird sex! Genital constriction is happening! Agh!
Quickly flip to another page…
10-year-old Marc is getting a rectal exam! Jesus!
Run away! I didn’t sign up for this.
Anyway, the book is great, if unpleasant at many points. He does lay it all out there, which is to be expected if you’re familiar with Maron’s show. The expected straight-up autobiographical narrative never really takes hold; eventually I realized the book is a series of wryly comic essays. The chapter describing his deployment of hummingbird feeders at his house cracked me up in particular.
He can construct a fine phrase. "This is what your heroes do for you—lift you victoriously above the dirty work of life and conjure a different way of being," he says about the Velvet Underground. That's a good way to put it.
You’ll recognize bits that he’s woven into his TV series, and whatever you think of the guy already, I can’t see this book changing your mind. You’ll just know more—a lot more—about him.