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Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever

de Joel Derfner

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1896108,122 (3.83)6
A hilarious and deeply moving account of one man’s journey from stereotype to truth. Joel Derfner is a knitter, an aerobics instructor, a cheerleader, a go-go dancer, and a musical theater composer, but when he realizes one day that he’s a walking gay cliché he embarks on a quest for deeper meaning. A very, very funny quest for deeper meaning. And whether he’s confronting the demons of his past at a GLBT summer camp, using the Internet to “meet” men–many, many men–or going undercover to a conference of ex-gays, he discovers that what he’s looking for–and sometimes even finds, hidden underneath the surface of everyday life–is his own identity. In the tradition of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, yet with its own particular flair, Swish is a story told with not just wit but hum∨ not just candor but honesty; and not just compassion but humanity.… (més)

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Astonishing. ( )
  SomeGuyInVirginia | Aug 25, 2018 |
Swish by Joel Derfner is a memoir of growing up, being gay and trying to figure out what all that means at a deeply personal level.

Although the subtitle, My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever, implies fluff — it's not. Sure, there are moments of humor and Derfner's voice comes through as genuine throughout, but it's certainly not fluff. In terms of tone, it reminds me most of Drew Carey's memoir, Dirty Jokes and Beer.

The second chapter, On Casual Sex, isn't for the Puritan minded reader. It's frank description of numerous sexual encounters. It's a fascinating, depressing, and sometimes mind-boggling chapter. All the chapters take their stated subject with a similar, in depth, obsessed focus.

Mostly though, Swish, asks the reader to reconsider every last gender and sexual orientation stereotype. Reading through the different chapters is like watching Derfner trying each stereotypically gay thing and seeing if it will make him happy.

So did Derfner convince me that he's the gayest person ever? No. Did I enjoy reading the book? Mostly. Will I remember the book? Yes. Do I recommend the book? Yes. ( )
  pussreboots | Nov 27, 2014 |
Contrary to what the jacket copy promises, this is not one long hilarious romp. It does have moments wherein I dissolved in helpless, snorting laughter though. It's much more memoir than humor, and memoir with insight and angst. I enjoyed it a lot, but found Derfner's repetitive inner self-hating monologue tedious at best.

( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This odd collection that seems cobbled together by blog posts in the beginning. The first half of the book is amusing, but not captivating. The tone changes abruptly in the last section, becoming far more thoughtful and interseting. ( )
2 vota harahel | Mar 12, 2010 |
This author is exceptionally funny and bright. This is the third memoirs I've read recently by Southern gay boys (Mississippi Sissy and The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy). All three equally as compelling, equally as astonishing, and equally as different from the other. Bravo Joel Derfner! ( )
1 vota mgaulding | Jul 22, 2008 |
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A hilarious and deeply moving account of one man’s journey from stereotype to truth. Joel Derfner is a knitter, an aerobics instructor, a cheerleader, a go-go dancer, and a musical theater composer, but when he realizes one day that he’s a walking gay cliché he embarks on a quest for deeper meaning. A very, very funny quest for deeper meaning. And whether he’s confronting the demons of his past at a GLBT summer camp, using the Internet to “meet” men–many, many men–or going undercover to a conference of ex-gays, he discovers that what he’s looking for–and sometimes even finds, hidden underneath the surface of everyday life–is his own identity. In the tradition of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, yet with its own particular flair, Swish is a story told with not just wit but hum∨ not just candor but honesty; and not just compassion but humanity.

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