by: Dan Savage
Dan Savage is the author of “Seattle’s Only Advice Column”, Savage Love, which focuses on questions about relationships love, sex, and more sex. I have a secret addiction to advice columns, and his is one of my absolute favorites, from the wacky questions he tackles to his favorite piece of advice – DTMFA (dump the motherfucker already.) He’s not the type to wrap hard messages in a sweet and gentle delivery; he’s a “tell it like he see it” sort of person and I really enjoy that. Not to mention, that’s a rarity on advice blogs! (Alison, from askamanager.org, which you absolutely should be reading if you’re not, also does a great job of not sugarcoating, though with much more finesse than Savage.)
Anyway, this is Savage’s 3rd-ish book*. It’s more a collection of essays, with each chapter devoted to a separate topic, than any sort of comprehensive non-fiction. Savage is very honest, so if you’ve been interested in a controversy he’s been involved it, the latest two are given an entire chapter and you can read all about his experience and thoughts. It’s pretty interesting.
Other things covered are equal marriage rights, healthcare, monogamy, abstinence-only sex ed (spoiler alert: it doesn’t work), politics, being GGG, and a very heart-wrenching chapter on his mother’s death.
I loved this book. It was a fast read, and it was funny enough to make me laugh, yet sincere enough to be more than a collection of comedic rants. It gave Savage an unexpectedly human dimension and, though the book is part of his public persona, sure, you walk away feeling as if you understand him as a person rather than a public figure. My favorite chapter dealt with cheating and monogamy; I already knew that Savage and I had similar views but hearing his thoughts expanded and dealt with fully resonated with me.
I don’t think this book is going to change anyone’s mind on anything, except as it gives a sense of humanity to a public gay person, which can be important. But if you already agree with many of Savage’s opinions and are looking for ways to organize and develop your arguments, or explain your feelings, than this book is probably a great read for you. Even if you don’t agree, if you’re interested in seeing the reasons behind his stances, Savage is crystal clear throughout the book about why he feels the way he does. It just didn’t strike me as particularly persuasive – I don’t think the intent of the book was to get converts. But maybe that was just me?
Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun read full of rants and left-leaning political opinions that will make you laugh, you should definitely read this book. If you’re looking for a serious political treatise, though, you might want to give it a pass.
*Depending on how you count; a/k/a I was lazy and Wikipedia did not provide an easy answer. Savage heads up the It Gets Better Project, an outreach effort to LGBT kids who are being bullied or ostracized or who feel forced to hide their sexuality. There’s an amazing book he edited – hence the -ish – and a whole bunch of YouTube videos and if you know anyone who you think could use support, definitely leave a link or a the book around for them to find.