literally show me a healthy person by Darcie Wilder
Tyrant Books, 2017; 97 pp
Reviewed by Bobby Fischer
Darcie Wilder’s literally show me a healthy person is 97 pages of mostly tweet size paragraphs that don’t immediately present as any kind of functional narrative. Instead, what happens is that they use emotionally connective tissue to create atmosphere sustained by sex, death, and cultural touchstones like 9/11. It’s a very funny book.
Here’s what it’s like: It’s like sitting down with a really funny friend who seems like she’s in serious pain and dominates the conversation with one liners about pop culture and her sex life and all the crazy stories that she has, but there are certain morbid topics that she keeps cycling around to (you can hear the heaviness in her voice when the conversation turns to her grandmother, or her mother) and their presence is a reminder that she’s in pain but she keeps deflecting with humor. Your conversation goes all night and while you’re having it you laugh a lot and you think you’re having a really good time but when she leaves and you reflect on that conversation you start to worry about her.
So you text her but then she deflects with a one liner and you forget about it again. It’s 97 pages of that. Wilder uses nonstandard grammar, spelling, and punctuation and that all feeds into an internet aesthetic of intimacy, but it is aesthetic and feels calculated the same way that Hemingway’s comma splicing in Hills Like White Elephants is calculated.
This book is not for everyone; it is graphically sexual and plotless. It’s hyperrealistic and confessional in a way that will very much make some people uncomfortable. The nonsequitor humor can be as jarring for some as it is thrilling for others. Those people will be able to tell that it’s not for them within a page or two. It’s for me and I’m for it.