Swish by Joel Derfner

Swish by Joel Derfner

"Swish is an interesting look at gay life in New York in a certain time... and on a roller coaster."

You can't help but root for Joel Derfner, the author of Gay Haiku, in his (relatively new) memoir, Swish. Like Augusten Burrough's Dry, New York City is definitely a character in Derfner's book, as well as his life.  His blog, in fact, is heart-rendingly called The Search for Love in Manhattan. It's hear-warming that he has found love in Manhattan, although he does appear to blog less often now.Anyway, about Swish. Swish is a strange book in all the ways a memoir should be strange, because people are strange. It starts out as a comedy and ends up as a tragedy. But then you keep reading and then you say “oh my good gracious it's a comedy again!” Which again, is kind of like life, which is most often a tragedy and comedy combined and you never have any idea what you're in for next or even whether it's a tragedy or comedy that you're in at that moment.

Swish is an interesting look at gay life in New York in a certain time... and on a roller coaster. When Derfner attempts to join New York's gay cheerleading squad (he's easy to throw, apparently) it seems to be going well, but when he fails at a pick-up or spends time with someone who is clearly real bad for him, you're thinking “uh uh.”And when he writes about his mom dying, Jews, the Holocaust and atheism, you can't help but think really hard and cry just a little. Or maybe a lot.