‘Monstrous’ Reviewed by Kirkus Discoveries
: The Autobiography of a Serial Killer but for the Grace of God
Author: Walker, Tommy
Review Date: FEBRUARY 18, 2009
Publisher:BookSurge (485 pp.)
Price (paperback): $20.99
Publication Date: April 5, 2002
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-58898-608-5
Walker unspools in detail the dark psychological results of excruciating inhibition and loneliness.
Being rejected is always hurtful, but sometimes it’s crushing. In Walker’s case, a childhood friend spurned him, maybe even playfully. He turned inward and his reluctance to socialize widened the chasm between him and his peers, making him increasingly odd. Young Walker fancies himself a bit of an outlaw, but in reality he begins to fixate on his mother’s love in an unwholesome way. An outlet arrives: masturbation (if “serial killer” never bears fruit, Walker gives serial masturbator a run for its money). He finds pornography “soothing,” though the vibrancy of his incestuous feelings remains disturbingly taboo. The author comes across as neither self-hating nor self-amused, but haunted. There is plenty to be repulsed by here—Walker running away from home when he’s old enough to leave, sad trips in which he sinks deep into decrepitude before calling home to be rescued and his sordid fantasies of the opposite sex—and the author gets flamboyantly raunchy about his masturbation. Yet the story is compellingly painful, as it focuses on a kid in pathetic straits. There is a steady pulse to the writing, despite its circling details, and Walker even inserts humor into his unlovely life, as when a porn-shop owner shoots him a look when he inquires about incest magazines—“It’s unusual for a merchant to give you eyes since they have to make their sale, but this guy did. This from a man who sold porn for a living.” If Walker is not a killer, his fury is real—a lightness enters him during an assault fantasy and a heaviness returns afterward, gnawing like a rat. He finds something nearing salvation through the written word and finally a woman.
A pungent, woebegone tale of emotionally crippling loneliness.
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