I wrote this review a couple of years ago, but it was never published anywhere. Now I am posting it here.
The Flow Chronicles
The Urban Hermitt
I read a couple issues of the Urban Hermitt’s eponymous zine a few years ago and really enjoyed them, so I was excited when my partner sent me a copy of The Flow Chronicles, Hermitt’s first book. Like the zines, this book was super fun to read!
Hermitt writes about coming of age and coming out as a tomboy dyke, avoiding creepy hippy men and trying to hook up with hot sexy women. From crappy foodservice jobs to drug experimentation, Hermitt chronicles a young adult life that I can relate to.
I read this book quickly—tore through it in a few hours—and got a kick out of it as an easy and entertaining read. I chuckled a lot at Hermitt’s social awkwardness, but in an empathetic rather than mean way. In many situations, Hermitt’s embarrassed discomfort could have been my own.
I appreciated Hermitt’s rap poking gentle fun at “ a pc kind of love.” Here’s a sample:
“I first met you at the Recycling Center.
Your tee-shirt said you were a ‘Green Party Member.’
You were eating apricot flavored cliff bars.
You came here by a vegetable oil run car.”
I found it rather amusing, as I’ve many times met the type of people this rap is about. Heck, in some ways I am the type of person this rap is about, but I can still appreciate its humor.
For folks who maybe don’t understand all of the terms used by Hermitt and an assortment of friends, housemates, and co-workers, “The Urban Hermitt Style Dictionary” is included at the end of the book. Now you too can learn the meanings of cool words from “andro” to “yoni.”
I do have a couple of criticisms of the book. It’s full of typos, but I’m not sure if they are genuine flaws or if they were thrown in to increase the writing’s down and dirty street cred. In any case, I found them annoying and distracting. I was also slightly irritated by the “letters” that the Hermitt uses to advance the plot. I understand that they are supposed to break the monotony of Hermitt’s first person narrative, but while they are often humorous, I think they also interfere with the smooth progress of the story.
Despite those minor flaws, I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs some light and funny reading.