If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that I have a fondness for memoirs. While I suppose there’s a part of me that is intrigued by the drama and sadness that we all go through (there’s got to be some reason why I like the Steve Wilkos show so much,) there’s an even bigger part of me that enjoys humorous recollections of peoples lives. After all, in order to get through life, you’ve got to have a sense of humor, right?
236 Pounds of Class President, the second book from humorist Jason Mulgrew, should resonate pretty strongly with guys in their thirties. Filled with fond (and embarrassing) memories of his high school years, Jason’s confessions are told in a way that feels less like you’re reading a book and feels more like your buddy (or your buddy’s buddy) telling stories to you in the back of the bar-after he’s had enough liquor to loosen up the old TMI filter a little bit.
Set in Philadelphia (and surrounding environs) in the early Nineties, Jason waxes humorous on everything from his initial musical obsessions (The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Jodeci??) to his childhood crushes. He reminisces about a summer spent renting a beach house with friends as a teenager (so jealous of that) and even devotes a chapter to his discovery of masturbation. Granted, there’s a sense of “I can’t believe he allowed this to be published” as you read portions of the book. Nevertheless, you’ve got to give props to a guy who is not afraid to put it all out there, as it were.
There are also photos, including several of Jason wearing a fur cape, which is apparently something he did in high school. As someone who wore a rat tail (which one friend likened to “a little hard dick in the back of (my) head,”) a fisherman’s hat, Zubas, mismatched boots (hey, it worked for Bell Biv DeVoe,) and backwards pants to school at various times, I can take solace in the fact that my wardrobe was never that embarrassing.
At any rate, if you like reading about the teenage years of a guy who has a pretty good sense of humor about himself (without sounding like a sad-sack or an asshole,) there are way worse ways to get some light reading in. I finished the book over the course of a day (and truthfully, I read most of it on the can, which I’m sure Jason will appreciate.) While it suffers a bit from sequel disease (nothing is as good when you know what to expect,) it still makes me wish I still lived in New York and could sit in a bar to hear these stories in person.
Our review of Jason’s first book, Everything Is Wrong with Me