Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story - Chuck Klosterman I noticed a girl reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs several years ago when we were both working at the local movie theater during summer break. I thought the title and cover art were awesome so I bought it and read it. I really can’t remember how I felt about it then other than thinking it was okay/pretty good. I have a terrible memory. I plan on rereading it someday so that I can write a review which I can reference in the future when I try to remember whether or not I like Chuck Klosterman. So, I figured I’d give this book a try and see how I felt about it. For the first 30 pages or so he was really freaking annoying. He’s like that guy who talks about how amazing and transcendent bands you’ve never heard of are and how you won’t really live until you listen to such-and-such album because it will literally rock your face off. I hate that guy. He’s a pretentious self-righteous bitch. I almost gave up on old Chuck (side note: every time someone called him Chuck it was really, really hard not to think about Peppermint Patty from Peanuts, so try not to do that because it’s distracting) condescendingly talking about “hipsters” even though he so obviously is one. But eventually he quit annoying me and started making me laugh and then I started to like him.

I think what probably made me start to warm up to him were the stories about his childhood and growing up in North Dakota which he intertwined with stories about different girls that he’s hooked up with, band members he’s interviewed, and anecdotes about the different sites that he’s visiting on his “epic” road trip. I still can’t say which girlfriend was which – they all just run together since they’re basically three different names with the same flippant personality. Apparently they’re a dime a dozen because pretty much every city he goes through reminds him of one of his past hos. He doesn’t write so much about the dead rock stars he’s driving around to visit so much as he writes about what they and their memorials remind him of, like his family and lady friends and such.

One of the funniest (and saddest, being an Arkansan) sections of the book is when he’s in a Comfort Inn in Mississippi watching Victory Television Network (VTN), a Christian network for the Arkansas area. I’ve flipped past this channel several times in the past and the people and programs on it are absolutely bonkers. This is some hardcore, Museum of Earth History-type (Google it or even better come on down to Eureka Springs to experience it!), Bible thumping, throw your hands in the air and praise Gaw-uhd Christian programming. So Chuck catches a movie on this channel and this kid named Steven’s biggest crisis in all the world is (not drugs or sex or gangs or anything like that) that he doesn’t want to save all the bad kids around him whose souls are going to hell, even though that’s what a good Christian should strive to do. So after struggling with this for a while, Steven’s minister finally convinces him to do some good and go tell the good news to his peers and guess what happens? Well, I hope I don’t ruin the movie for you, but he tries to convert a drug dealer who in turn “blows Steven away with a handgun” (see pages 98-100 for the full account). And that’s the ending of the movie. I might have to linger the next time I flip across VTN if there are more gems like this on there.

Now I need to go listen to Radiohead’s Kid A so I can see if it’s actually an inadvertent prophetic musical storyboard for the events of 9/11.