Sunday, September 3, 2000

JOEY Magazine reviews Richard Grayson's THE SILICON VALLEY DIET

The Fall 2000 issue of JOEY Magazine (issue 3) features a review of Richard Grayson's The Silicon Valley Diet:

The Silicon Valley Diet
Richard Grayson
Red Hen Press - $14.95

A collection of twelve short “Seinfeldian” stories (i.e., funny, clever, lightly written and neurotic, while simultaneously about nothing in particular). Richard Grayson’s The Silicon Valley Diet delivers its strongest material in the twelfth story, the one from which the book garners its title. The final story is about a formerly fat Caucasian gay male trying to get his diet book published, while deciding whether or not he should date an English-language-challenged Vietnamese immigrant whose main goal is to return to his country of origin. (Still with me?) Peculiar as that set-up sounds, it works because the main character in the story, like the best of Grayson’s characters, balances his neurotic self-awareness with a genuine sense of empathy and healthy serving of humor. While the stories of various gay men don’t achieve any particular kind of character arc, that’s largely beside the point. Grayson offers up several “that’s-exactly-how-I-feel” moments in the snippets he reveals from his characters’ lives—bringing humor, reality and touching sadness to the small, if occasionally obscure, moments that fill their days. The other fun stories include a liberal who’s obsessed with the depleting supply of the world’s cocoa and dating a non-chocolate-eating conservative, a teenage junior college student who has a distinctly un-salacious affair with one of his professors, and an endearing bass-player in a gay punk band who writes crappy angst songs with titles like “You Fucked Me,” and battles with his ex-boyfriend/lead singer over various mediocre names for their band. The cast of characters entertain while often feeling eerily like people you know, love, hate, lust after, or happen actually to be from time to time
—James Sledge