An American Demon
Jack Grisham
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Buy *An American Demon: A Memoir* by Jack Grisham online

An American Demon: A Memoir
Jack Grisham
ECW Press
360 pages
May 2011
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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Here are the dictionary definitions for memoir:

  1. A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge.
  2. An autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people.
If this book is an actual real-life and authentic memoir, then the writer - a singer for punk band TSOL - is a combination of Manson, Hitler, serial rapist, multiple felon, arsonist, and deviant who has committed more crimes than any man alive and was never arrested. The point is: An American Demon may be a work of fiction but it's not a true-to-life memoir. There's just no way.

As a book of fiction, it is depraved in the manner of Bret Easton Ellis's books. If a book is meant to engage you, this one does - only if it means reading the next page to see what unbelivable crime the author is going to engage in next.

He reckons himself a demon, but the truth of it is that Grisham is either a closet anti-Semite or a full-blown anti-Semite. There are multiple references that go way beyond simple literary style. On page 10, he mocks Holocaust survivors:

He and his wife were Jews - Polish Jews that had been relocated and stripped of all they had.

I listened patiently as he talked, but there were times that I had to prod him with a question to keep the stories flowing. I was picking his wound, so to speak, so the rich red blood of his despair would roll out into the kitchen and cover my eager mind with his experience.
On page 20 he writes, "Christ, I could just imagine 'me' being dropped into the midst of that shit. I would have stood out like a Hitler impersonator at a Survivors of Auschwitz picnic."

A "Survivors of Auschwitz picnic." Another shot at Holocaust survivors.

Oh, yes, and on page 149 he talks about wearing a Nazi armband on his sleeve.

The most laughable element of this book is that it's supposed to be based on the author's addiction to drugs and alcohol--and he virtually denies it all. On page 207, he writes, "The booze and the drugs never got a hold of me, and I remained strong. If I hadn't, I probably (probably?) would have told you, and I probably wouldn't be writing this book."

Then why did he write the book?

If this book had been presented as pure fiction with some historical perspective tossed in, it wouldn't have presented such a laughable document. Grisham would still have presented himself as a narcissistic, racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, narrow-minded and atonal singer, but at least he could have hidden under the blanket of imagination.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2011

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