Published by Macmillan on September 4th 2012
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Davy Rothbart, founder of FOUND Magazine, has spent his life frantically searching for love but finding it at the wrong times and in the wrong places. In his collection of essays, My Heart is an Idiot, Rothbart recounts the best and worst of the situations he encountered in his journey toward meaningful connections.
As a Michigan native, reading through Rothbart’s collection was like taking a trip back home. I had forgotten he was from Ann Arbor until I caught mention of Cedar Point, followed by Bell’s Brewery and a slew of other familiar places. But even when Rothbart’s stories had him traveling across the country or stranded in a city I’d never heard of, his voice rang familiar. The essays in My Heart is an Idiot range from childhood antics with his deaf mother, to fleeting love at first sight on an airplane and misadventures in long distance, unknown relationships – yet they always feel genuine.
Surprisingly, the essay that stands out in My Heart is an Idiot has little to do with love and much more to do with friendship. In The Strongest Man in the World, Rothbart details an annual visit to Crossroads Correctional Center, where his friend is serving a life sentence for murder. It becomes clear that, while he certainly has a talent for finding humor in what might otherwise be odd or mundane, Rothbart’s writing is just as capable of taking a serious tone.
I unexpectedly saw Davy open for one of my favorite musicians, John Vanderslice, back in 2005 and was totally impressed. Since then, I’ve seen his career take off, but this is the first time I’ve picked up one of his books – it certainly won’t be the last.
If you’re in the Richmond area, you can join me in catching Davy’s tour as it stops at Balliceaux on September 22nd, sponsored by Chop Suey Books.