Grainy and stripped down, this gritty novel traces the downbeat progress of a tough, queer girl growing up in working-class Boston by “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant-garde” (The New York Times).
Why can’t I live right now. Because I am not rich, I am not a saint. But I do know this: not all of us were sent here to work.
The first published novel of legendary poet and performer Eileen Myles follows a queer female growing up in working-class Boston, straining against the institutions that hold her: family, Catholic school, jobs at a camp, at a nursing home, at a school for developmentally disabled adult males.
She wants to be an astronaut. Instead, she becomes a poet and journeys through a series of low-end schools, pathetic jobs, and unmade beds. Schooled by mean and memorable Catholic nuns, this tomboy heroine stumbles and dreams her way through the painful corridors of family, early sexual encounters, and an eye-opening series of jobs caring for the sick and insane–the abandoned wards of the state. This is a book hell-bent on telling the truth about poor women, and how they do (and do not) get out of the hands of their families and the state. Without artifice or pseudonym, protagonist Eileen Myles boldly sets down a rich and graphic account of female experience in this world.
Free-ranging and deadpan, tragic and joyful, this is a book about women, gender, class, bodies, escape, and what it means to be “inside.” Never more relevant, and now with an introduction by Chris Kraus.
“Eileen Myles is a genius!”–Dorothy Allison