Dignity Takes a Holiday, Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Tags: Gay Humor/ Satire, Trying to Lose Virginity, Crazy Mum
Length: 230 Pages
Purchase At: Dreamspinner Press, amazon.com
A warped, satirical telling of a 47-year-old gay virgin who still lives with his mother.
**This review will be one big spoiler. Consider that before reading.**
This book tells the story of Pete Thickwhistle. Pete is 47-years-old. He is flamboyantly gay and he’s still a virgin. He is extremely naive and totally clueless to all things around him. He still lives with his mother in an apartment that Pete pays for. He is convinced that no one is aware of his homosexuality but he is wrong. Way wrong. It is obvious to everyone he comes in contact with. This is the story of Pete’s journey to find someone to love and to rid him of his virginity once and for all. Of course, first he has to deal with his mother who is a raging bitch. Did I mention that ‘dear old Mom’ is a psycho? The world psycho is possibly unfair to all the other psychos of the world. She’s evil. She’s mean. She treats Pete horribly and is physically abusive to him. She is nasty to Pete’s (very few) friends and causes scenes everywhere she goes.
I have to say right off that this book is (obviously) not meant to be taken seriously. I have read other reviews where people where shocked and offended by what Rick R. Reed wrote in this book. It’s not real, people! Seriously. It is satire (I lost count of how many times I’ve either used that word this week or explained to someone what it meant). It is in no way politically correct. Some of what Pete goes through would shock the hell out of someone if it was meant to be taken literally.
Pete is totally oblivious. He looks in the mirror and sees a good looking, fit man. In reality, he is an aging man with too much weight on him who wears clothes that went out of fashion in the early seventies. He gets caught up in situations that border on ridiculous.
The first man he tries to get involved with turns out to be a pimp who has a premature issue leaving Pete’s virginity intact. This one leaves Pete hanging (literally) when there is a police raid. The old guy makes up for it later by dying and leaving Pete $75,000.00 in his will.
There is an incident with a bee climbing inside him as he is using the bathroom in the woods. The way he stops his internal swelling later (think plunger and lube) had me cringing when I read it. I seriously should have quickly (very quickly) turned the page. I could have gone my entire life without reading that.
Pete has dreams of Pat Sajak (Wheel of Fortune) stripping for him as Vanna White looks on in jealousy (yes, Pat Sajak).
Pete wakes up in the middle of the night one night horny… very horny. Outside his window he hears a tomcat (I can honest say the next line will be something I never in a million years thought I would be typing in a review) and Pete makes a quick decision to open the window and get the cat inside to help him with his problem. Of course, there is milk, half-and-half and canned tuna rubbed all over his body first. One cat turns into every cat in the neighborhood…. at once. The word gross came to mind when I read that (another one I could have gone my entire life without reading….) But Pete’s mom’s reaction was priceless. Oh yes, she is awakened by the sounds and walks in on all the cats all over her son.
Pete inherits the above-mentioned $75,000.00 from the dead, old pimp. After fighting back and forth with his evil mother over where to spend the money, he makes a decision to go on a ‘Florida escapade’ to pick up men and then he will enroll in school when he returns. His first day in Florida, he offends the manager of the hotel. Later, Pete asks her advice for hooking up. She gives him Spanish lessons so that he will be able to converse with the Hispanic locals. My Spanish is rusty but I had no problem figuring out that instead of teaching Pete the correct phrases to pick up a man, she was teaching him lines like “I am a nurse and I want to take your anal temperature” and “When was the last time you pooped?” It was funny as hell but it did not go well for Pete. His ‘Florida escapade’ ends without Pete getting laid. He comes back home and enrolls in college. His major? Ice Skating.
Pete’s mother continues to make his life a living hell. She does everything from hitting him to faking her own bloody death so that Pete will be arrested (the last one because he did not buy generic toilet paper). She criticizes him constantly and plunders in his room and hides his sex toys (after hitting him in the face with them first, of course).
Pete finally meets the man of his dreams (a neighbor) after his mother abused his face with a Brillo pad and Comet. He runs down the stairs to get away from her and meets Tom, who takes him to the hospital after he sprains his ankle in the fall.
This is quite possibly one of the most warped books I have ever read. Parts of it were cringe-worthy (as noted above) and every single bit of it was ridiculous… as it was meant to be. It is not politically correct. Things are mentioned in this book that will most definitely offend some. Personally, I laughed my ass off. I could do that because I, unlike some, took it in stride and for what it is meant to be: a satire. It’s not real nor is it meant to come across as such.
Overall, a funny book. The only thing that really bugged me (other than an incident with a cat early in the book) was the ending as the other stuff (no matter how disturbing) was satirical in nature. Pete and Tom get married and the decision is made to (FINALLY) put the evil mother in a home. Instead, Pete feels guilty after the ceremony and offers to take the old bitch to St. Louis with him and Tom the next day (where Tom will be starting a new job). Of course she says yes (she has to keep control of Pete after all). I wanted her put away somewhere so Pete could finally be happy. It was not meant to be. 🙁
Would I recommend this book to others? Oh, hell no. I’d never hear the end of it and there would be long, drawn-out debates on the disturbing aspects of it.
(I should also point out that Pete does lose his virginity before he meets Tom. To a hot waiter/male prostitute.)
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