Cover image for My less than secret life : a diary, fiction, essays
My less than secret life : a diary, fiction, essays
Ames, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press ; [Emeryville, Calif.?] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2002]

Physical Description:
397 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3551.M42 M9 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



My Less Than Secret Life is the companion volume to Jonathan Ames's first memoirish endeavor, "the mildly perverted and wildly amusing" (Vanity Fair) What's Not to Love? This collection of the cult author's fiction and essays includes Ames's public diary, the bi-weekly columns he penned for the New York Press. The entries of this diary are a record of his mad adventures: his ill-fated debut as an amateur boxer fighting as 'The Herring Wonder', a faltering liaison with a Cuban prostitute, his public outing of George Plimpton as a Jew, his discussion with Eve Ensler about his dear friend The Mangina, a renegade mission as a Jew into the heart of Waspy Maine, and other such harrowing escapades. Whether trying to round up a partner for an orgy, politely assisting in an animal sacrifice, or scamming tickets to the WWF's Royal Rumble for his son, Jonathan Ames proves himself a ballsier Everyman whose transgressions and compassionate meditations will satisfy the voyeur and encourage the halfhearted. But be warned. As Jonathan says, "I don't like to be a bad influence. It's bad enough that I have influence over myself." "...Ames has always been one of my favorite contemporary writers ... for his ... fearless commitment to the most demanding psychosexual comedies."--Rick Moody

Author Notes

Jonathan Ames is a contributing writer to the New York Press and a comic monologist in the tradition of Spalding Gray. His first novel I Pass Like Night was published in 1989 and led to feature articles about Ames in USA Today and Vanity Fair.

Ames has performed at PS 122, Fez, the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe and the New York Public Library. His work has been anthologized in the Henfield Foundation Anthology and in an anthology edited by Joyce Carol Oates. He has worked as a taxi driver, au pair, fiction writing teacher and model.

He grew up in Orange, New Jersey, and currently resides in New York.

(Bowker Author Biography) Jonathan Ames lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ames writes edgy, punchy, sexy, funny, and extremely eloquent prose, and it is no wonder he has developed cult status after appearing in the New York Press, McSweeney's, Shout, and other cutting-edge venues. His latest book is a sequel to a previous memoir, What's Not to Love (2000), and he has also written two novels, I Pass Like Night (1989) and The Extra Man (1998). This new book gathers fictional pieces as well as autobiographical ones. In either form, Ames follows themes arising from his general sentiment that life is a series of abrasions and fleeting thrills but that all of it must be taken with a sense of humor. From entering a boxing match to taking a trip to Cuba to genital waxing, his concerns in these essays and stories are not for the fastidious minded who object to frank talk about sex and anatomy; they are for readers who love language, offbeat observations, and unique but resonant impressions. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Brooklyn-based Ames's wild follow-up to What's Not to Love? is an entertaining salmagundi that tosses five short stories in among 42 essays, including past New York Press column installments, book reviews and e-zine contributions. A 1987 invitation to a nonexistent literary symposium sent Ames to a paranoid precipice, and his vivid, noir-style recollection of that mystery, The Nista Affair, makes a fine centerpiece. But the author is a man of appetites for sex, for self-examination, for performance, for weird experiences and this makes his book irresistible. He's like the dirtiest, smartest kid on the playground you might cringe, but you can't help being transfixed. In Booty and the Beast, he waxes rhapsodic on waitress watching; The Orgy chronicles his failed attempts to attend one. With bodily functions and sexuality the dominant themes, Ames's public diary his New York Press columns often feels more like a pubic diary. When he meets Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), they discuss the Mangina, a prosthetic vagina worn by performance artist Harry Chandler; Gear magazine assignments send him into a session with a female hypnotist specializing in penis enlargement and onto the set of a porn film. From recollections of prostitutes to reflections on an s&m support group, he documents numerous erotic encounters: When it comes to sexual fetishes, I can't be pigeonholed. Ames lays his soul bare here, and those who are easily offended should stay away. But for readers who don't mind the occasional squirm for the sake of the frequent belly laugh, this hodgepodge of oddities is highly recommended. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved