It's not very often that I will read a memoir about someone, and find answers about myself. Craig Machen is the kind of guy who, with great humility, unapologetically describes how his life took a turn for the good and bad after taking on jobs as a bouncer and bartender in topless bars in a few American cities, and the romances that occurred in his social circle.
First of all, as a woman, I found myself learning a lot about the guys I had relationships with when I was young, or friendships with some guys when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Cut the truth how ever thin you might like it, but guys always narrowed down the ideal woman being 'a hottie who had troubles'. This time, Craig explains why--at least he does from his point of view. I found myself understanding a lot more why some choices are made in life which brings me to my next thought...
I also found myself to be one-part psychologist while reading. After all the twisted truths that the characters are desperately trying to find within themselves, I couldn't help but notice that all but one or two characters are living a lie. Craig soons learns how to be truthful about what he wants in life, and eventually meets a woman who is very genuine late in the book. The men and women alike all seem to tell themselves they are something other than what they are, and force it upon others to try and believe it. The inner-psychologist in me couldn't help but want to sit each troubled person down and tell them that living a happy life is not brought on this way.
Then there is the actual writing-style from the author. Craig humourously decorates the book with wonderful similes and metaphors that are very creative. I can tell exactly what Craig thinks when he puts something in perspective in such an entertaining way. As a fan of 80s/90s rock, I loved the musical references. As a memoir, I love getting to know a person, and Craig also writes very much like someone you would be sitting on the beach with, having a coffee (coffee that you probably had to buy for the both of you), but happy to chat with and learn about his life twenty-five years ago.
Looking back on my own life twenty years ago, as a young girl in love with the town's charming bad-boy, I began to see that maybe there was a hero somewhere within him. Perhaps these guys who are trying too hard in life to get what they want to be happy, don't even realize that happiness is probably this supposed moment right here on the beach having a coffee and enjoying someone's company without reservation.
It's refreshing that Craig Machen eventually learned this, and offered to broadcast this message to the world in the form of a memoir so that others may identify with him, and realize their own potential.