Jason Schmidt wasn't surprised when he came home one day during his junior year of high school and found his father, Mark, crawling around in a giant pool of blood. Things like that had been happening a lot since Mark had been diagnosed with HIV, three years earlier.Read more...
Jason Schmidt wasn't surprised when he came home one day during his junior year of high school and found his father, Mark, crawling around in a giant pool of blood. Things like that had been happening a lot since Mark had been diagnosed with HIV, three years earlier.
Jason's life with Mark was full of secrets about drugs, crime, and sex. If the straights people with normal lives ever found out any of those secrets, the police would come. Jason's home would be torn apart. So the rule, since Jason had been in preschool, was never to tell the straights anything.
"A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me" is a funny, disturbing memoir full of brutal insights and unexpected wit that explores the question: How do you find your moral center in a world that doesn't seem to have one?"
- ISBN-13: 9780374380137
- ISBN-10: 0374380139
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 432
- Reading Level: Ages 14-18
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Schmidt’s memoir—which spans his childhood to late adolescence and chronicles his abuse and near homelessness at the hands of his drug-addicted gay father—is an emotionally demanding read. The memoir finds its strongest foothold in the primary relationship between father and son, particularly the wrenching scenes of Schmidt’s father’s rage and misguided devotion, packed between descriptions of a 1970s and ’80s West Coast counterculture childhood. As the author grows and begins to connect his own abusive actions and self-neglect to his childhood, the main relationship becomes buried in a jarring deflection of his father’s death from AIDS, the sudden adoption of a friendly volunteer as guardian, and overwrought details of his own burgeoning dating life, infused with Star Wars references (before his first kiss, Schmidt writes, “The best model I had for this kind of thing was Princess Leia and Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back”). If the turnaround moment for a teenage Schmidt arrives too late in the book to have the impact it might, the heavy burden of his early life is keenly felt. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Jan.)