When we read Alphabet City, a new memoir from Dallas-native Jon Paul Buchmeyer, we felt like we were separated at birth (from him, not literally split in two upon arrival). Like us, he also spent incalculable chunks of time as a child pretending to be living in a TV show. We can so relate.
How many times did we tell our friends at school that our broken arms, fractured legs and various other conditions were the result of fighting the kidnappers from Benji on our way home from school, when in reality the injuries were mostly attributable to shenanigans like tumbling down hills and doing face-plants while recreating the opening credits to Little House on the Prairie.
And our mom will never let us live down the “Wonder Woman Concussion” as it came to be known. But in our defense, spinning around in circles is good exercise. It’s not our fault there was a giant oak tree standing in the way of our frenzied twirling to transform a scrawny boy body into a buxom superheroine with a see-thru jet and kick-ass bracelets.
But enough about us. (Did we really just say that?) Alphabet City tells the sordid tales of Jon Paul’s journey from Dallas to a new life in New York in which he fancied himself a slightly more masculine version of Mary Tyler Moore trying to make it in a big city.
Each chapter is set up with what could be the TV Guide description for that moment in his life, and many “episodes” include famous guest stars, from Whoopi Goldberg and Liza Minelli to a pre-media-tycoon Tyra Banks.
There’s plenty of embarrassing situations, misunderstandings and wacky friends and neighbors, just like a real situation comedy. At times, he uses names like “Billionaire” and “Greasy” to disguise the names of presumably well-known people rather than telling us who they really are, which is alternately frustrating and intriguing—just like a blind item on Page Six. We just want to get him alone and find out who some of these mystery people really are. But that’s a whole other sitcom-worthy scheme we have yet to flesh out.
The book is a fast read, with short chapters that are ideal for consuming just before bed. Although, we found ourselves staying awake to read more and more, thanks to “scenes from the next episode” at the end of each chapter. It ends with a chapter billed as the “series finale,” which saddens us, because we’re sure there’s more to this guy’s zany gay adventures.
Who knows, maybe the next book will be TV-drama-themed instead and like Bobby Ewing coming back from the dead on Dallas, the end of this memoir won’t really be the end.
What a Very Special Episode that would be.
Meet the Author on Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Hotel Palomar Dallas reception benefiting National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
$35 includes membership in Task Force and a copy of “Alphabet City.”
Note: The reception is free, but donations are encouraged if you choose not to join the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Space is limited, so an RSVP is encouraged at firstname.lastname@example.org
On August 11, he’ll be back at Legacy Books so watch his blog for more details.
Go to www.lulu.com to purchase the e-book for $8.99 or paperback “old school” book for $14.99. Enter code FREEMAIL305 if purchasing the print edition and get a $3.99 shipping credit.