Loaded up on coffee, cake and cigarettes, I’ve got to admit that this review has been on my mind for a long time. Not compared to how long it’s been since the book was published (2015) – no, compared to the publishing year, this is probably offensive! But do bare in mind, I only got the book in the summer of 2017. The main reason for the delay is simply that I couldn’t really decide on the language in which to write this review; Danish, my native og first language – or English, which is second in line, with potential risk of grammar and spelling mistakes (although I will do my best to avoid them) – but more fitting, since this book will probably never see the light of day in a Danish version anyway. Well, take a wild guess on which decision I (finally) made!
Now, as said, I’m loaded up on 3 different ways to destroy my health and the neighbour kid upstairs is having a loud fit (AGAIN) and stomping the floor so hard, my lamps are dancing, so I thought this was probably as good a time as ever to hit the laptop and start writing. If you’ve already read the book, you know why. If not, I’m giving you no spoilers. I will need some company while writing and as always I will turn to music. This time I have chosen a number from the Danish rock band Volbeat that I’ll just put on repeat: “For Evigt” (Forever). Not my favorite number from them, but it just kinda makes me happy – and I need something to balance out my mood.
Off the leash!
First of all, I have a lot of favorite writers, like Tolkien, John Verdon, Dan Brown, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Temple Grandin, Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, C.J. Lewis, Orwell… and that’s just naming a few. If you know all of these, you will also realize that I don’t settle for a specific genre. Not in music and not in literature – or any art for that matter. Which leads me to the very first reason why “You’re making me hate you” hit my personal book hit list top 3, as I read it.
Mind you, it was the first Taylor book, I read, so I was not prepared. To those of you unaware, he has published two other books before this one (“Seven Deadly Sins”, 2011, and “A funny thing happened on the way to heaven”, 2013), but my Taylor book journey started with this one. As I was reading through the first pages of “You’re making me hate you”(Chapter 1: Just before the storm), I was – shall we say – puzzled. Not surprised, because listening to Slipknot and watching Youtube videos of their concerts kind of gave me a heads up. On all the swearing, I mean. Which is why nobody should attempt to translate this piece into Danish, because we Danes just don’t have that arsenal of bleep words in our vocabulary. No, I was puzzled, because I couldn’t place this book in a genre – and this comes from someone who has worked for a few years in a book store and has studied Literature at Aarhus University, so I have come across a lot of books in my time. And after 3 readings, I still don’t know how to classify this cantankerous pile of paper, that’s been glued together to form a book. It borrows from autobiography, memoires, cultural and society debate and sometimes even crossing paths with some form of psychology and politics. It makes me wonder how English and American book store owners are actually displaying it in their stores.
That instant genre confussion could make some people throw the book away, but to me, since I like when things are taken a little – or a lot – outside the box, that was reason enough to put it in my top 3 right out of the gate and then hope the rest of the book wouldn’t disappoint me.
Oh, it did not! On so many levels, quite the contrary.
Before I move on, if you will excuse me, I will go get myself a warm sweater, because the appartment is freezing cold and turning up the heat, when you have poorly isolated windows, really doesn’t cut it. We have just had a week of what the weather gurus call Sibirian winter degrees in Denmark. In March! I so need to try and fix that isolation when it gets warm and dry… which, knowing how the Danish weather is like, might not happen any time soon.
No under the rug sweeping
Now, where was I? The lack of disappointment and verging on reason number two. Right… so anyone of you, who has read my blog before, knows that I am diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome after decades of suffering from depression, stress, self harm, anxiety and so on. I will not talk too much about it here, since for the most part, it’s pretty unrelevant. However, a lot of people with Aspergers Syndrome really appreciate things like honesty and directness, because all that “reading between the lines” bullshit is really difficult for us. Like, if you tell me something and say “it comes right out off the top of your head”, I’m gonna fucking LOOK at the top of your head, wondering when it’s going to explode.
Well, I used to – getting older and more experienced, I have come to recognize most of those metaphorical expressions and instantly – for the most part – understand them as such. But sometimes not.
Therefore, I have a very deep appreciation for the directness and honesty of this book. Sometimes when an author publishes a non-fictional book, you can read interviews, in which the author tries to explain, simplify or clarify opinions on certain matters. With this book, that is really unnecessary – you just read it!
If you don’t get the picture or the point, a clarifying interview probably wont do you any good either.
I. Love. Honesty. And directness. And the most amazing part is that you’ll find this very special tone in all of Corey Taylors books. Which reminds me, I still have “America 51″(2017) to look forward to.
Because it is still only in the first edition and I got the previous three books as paperbacks, so it wouldn’t match in weight and size and fonts. Yeah, I’m rigid that way – deal with it!
POP, POP, POP!
Thirdly, I was quite ready to pop a champagne bottle, several times, while reading. Mind you, at the time I read the book, I had not yet been admitted for a month to the psych ward, which means I had not yet opened up about a lot of thoughts racing through this socalled fragile mind – especially not about the anger issues. I can get so furious, I scare myself. Quite literally. Which is probably why the title of the book caught my eye in the first place. No, I don’t hurt people – I turn it against myself, hence the “scare myself” part. Relax!
So in my mind, I was popping champagne bottles, not a metaphor, my imagination is just that specific and vivid – all because, here was this guy, writing down on paper – which is a lot harder to take back, than a verbal statement – these very annoying behaviours we, the human race, have a tendancy to indulge in. Not just making the statements, no, they are complete with numerous facts, arguments – and creative solutions.
I will give you a few examples, without spoiling the true fun; not using the turn signal, not paying attention in traffic (regardless of your choice of transportation), relationships, moronic behaviour on Youtube and popular music. I have got to say, the reading was cathartic. Basically, because it left me feeling like less of an alien on a planet, I accidentally crashed into.
Not saying I can clear my back, because I do stupid things too, and some of them probably annoys the sanity out of the few people, who actually know me.
I will give you an example, that I haven’t told anyone – not even my girlfriend. Almost 10 years ago, at 30, I got my driver’s license, I hadn’t been able to afford it earlier, and at that time I was married to a woman, who had two kids – and she didn’t have a driver’s license either. So because we wanted to take the kids to see places on vacation, we thought it would be a good a idea, if I got my license and then we could rent a car sometimes. Had I known what I know today as far as diagnosis and psychoeducation goes, I would have been able to tell beforehand that that would be a really dumb idea. However, the road trip went – well, I guess… I didn’t crash or miss turn signals or anything. But I was scared every single second behind the wheel. You see, I worry way too much and have this ability/flaw, not only allowing me to predict the traffic, but also to see every single possible or impossible potential danger. Crossing an intersection: “what if the car in the crossing lane doesn’t stop for red? Better wait!”. I was Mrs. Hyacinth Bucket from “Keeping up appearances” – if you put her behind the wheel.
So, the years passed by, I got divorced, got a new girlfriend, she had a car and I was promoted to a managing position out in the suburbs, which meant I got to drive on a regular basis. The fear sort of got less dominant as I grew into the habit – however, I have that sort of mind that just – drifts. Back in the days with my ex-wife, I had her on the passenger seat and her two kids in the back to keep my mind focused in present reality. But being alone in the car, and getting used to it, my brain started to get bored. So it drifted! Adding that to the fact that I was well above speeding limit, and I closed in on an intersection with red light – well, I had a wake up call! No one, but myself was in any danger, mind you. It was a late hour and really no traffic at all. Now, not long after that incident, I got to be a charge of a restaurant in the city centre, so we had no more need for a car and got rid of it. But sometimes, whenever we are going to see the in-laws, we borrow a car (girlfriend driving, thank you very much) and we pass that particular road and intersection every time – and you can still see the black marks on the road.
I haven’t said a word and never will!
I just flat out refuse to drive.
I’m even uncomfortable in the passenger’s seat – and I gotta say, my girlfriend is actually an excellent driver, so it’s no fault of her’s. However, after getting my diagnosis, I sort of understood why my brain goes on adventures – but that really was – and is – just all the more reason to refuse vigorously. I don’t want to loose any limbs!
And that’s really the point – to venture back to the matter of one of the greatest books ever written: we all do stuff, that is really embarrassing, sometimes even moronic. But either you learn from it or you don’t. Which is also the basic point of the book – the difference between being stupid and being incompetent: One can be taught, the other is fucked.
Lighting up the day
The fourth reason for my appreciation is really odd, because most people probably wont get this. Most people will possibly just be offended and not finish the book. Their loss.
But you have to understand that very few people have the ability to rant and swear that excessively and still be hilarious while doing it. Corey Taylor is one of those few people. And given the fact that I read this book at one of many dark times in my life, it was actually quite nice to figure out that I was still capable of laughing. Usually, I don’t get irony and sarcasm very well. I tend to miss the entire concept of the terms. Especially in real life conversations (which is why I’m generally the quiet one in any given social setting) – and before I move on, let me just point out that it’s not cool of you neurotypical people to take advantage of that. Just pointing it out, ’cause April Fools is coming up, so I’ll be locking my doors, rolling down the curtains and shutting down my phone. And even doing that, I’m still not safe, because I can’t really deny my girlfriend to access to our home – and she’s a master of irony and April Fools.
Anyhow – the (self)irony and sarcasm of this book is – to me – more obvious than most uses of the terms. Not obvious in a banal way, but I guess it really comes down to the directness and the honesty and the way, Corey Taylor writes. To me, that was a sort of nouveau sensation, which, hand in hand with the laughing, just lit up my day.
It may seem a bit odd that a book filled with ranting and swearing can light up a day. The reason is very simple and straight forward; Corey Taylor owns up to it. Unlike many books by famous people (or about a famous person, because they rarely write the shit themselves) that polishes, cuts a heel and clips a toe, until you’re left with an image or a brand, rather than a human being, Corey Taylor is human first. Which is actually quite a smart move, because staying true to yourself will always be easier than nourishing an image. And Corey Taylor puts our human flaws on an edge with humour (granted, often a dark one), smartness and a good portion of common sence, not being blind to the fact that he himself is very human and flawed.
That is really the difference between being an icon or a “god” – and a role model. We don’t need icons, we don’t need those celebrity gods, but we do need role models to show us and remind us, not only of our flaws, but also that even when we’re broken, we have the ability within ourselves to rise above it.
How could that not light up a day and bring hope back?
The yet to be known
The sixth reason I can share (no, I didn’t forget the fifth, which basically should be the first; I just selfcensored) is very low practical. Because I l.o.v.e to learn new stuff, and as someone who hasn’t got English as a native language, I have increased my English vocabulary. Yes, I can now swear in many profound and obnoxious ways, but that really only comes in handy if I spent more time communicating in English – particulary in my Twitter comments about Danish politics, whenever some our Danish politicians goes off on their racist point of views (they will, of course, deny that they are racists, but if I could translate just a fragment of the shit, I’ve read on their profiles, you would agree with me). Truth of the matter though, besides thinking in English and dreaming in English, I really don’t communicate with other people in English, except for special occasions – like this one. And the trouble with thinking and dreaming in English is, that no one really corrects me – which means sometimes when my thought process gets out of my control, I basically just invent my own words, whenever my English vocabulary comes up short.
The numerous bleeps aside, Taylor has got an extensive vocabulary that sometimes calls for a dictionary – so it really is quite the gift, if you want to enhance your English vocabulary as a foreigner.
Maybe I should just read more English books?
As I said, it was a low practical reason, but still very much appreciated.
But I learned other stuff as well – such as never going to an airport. I have never been on a plane in my life, and it would probably scare the shit out off me too, and I have never been to an airport. My ex-wife once suggested that we could take a plane from Aalborg, where we lived (and I still live), to Copenhagen – a flight of about 45 minutes, she said. I have no idea if it takes 45 minutes, but reading the airport chapter of this book, I’m fairly glad she didn’t succeed in persuading me. At that time I didn’t have my diagnosis and therefore not my newly found understanding of why I respond to crowds of people, the way I do – but if the airport chapter has any resemblance to reality, I would have not one, not two, but several panic attacks before even getting on the plane. It might sort of work out today, because these days I have medication, I can take to calm me down, when my mind blows up. And I have got a very understanding and caring girlfriend, who has this very uncanny ability to predict the situations that will trigger me – and therefore guiding me away from the situations, before they even take place.
Yeah, I know – she’s kinda awsome that way…
How I reeled her in? Simple – I didn’t! I had no fucking clue, she was even interested, until she flat out told me in a text message. After she – or we – had apparantly been flirting for at least half a year. I mean, I knew I liked her, but I had no clue that what I was doing was called flirting, nor that what she did, was flirting too. Apparently, going home from a party and saying good byes and then talking for another two hours is considered to be more than pure friendly behaviour. Especially, if you spend a good amount of that time just enjoying the company without saying a single word. And especially if the scenery mentioned takes place several times; after a party, after having coffee at a coffee bar, after work. So the tension kind of built up. Which leads me to think of the First Kiss. Not the first first kiss ever, that was so long ago, I can’t even recall with whom, but that First Kiss! Let’s leave at that.
No, I wont tell you – I don’t kiss and tell. I am, however, forgetting how cold the apartment is.
Back to the airport – as I said, it might work out today – had I not read “You’re making me hate you”!
Now? No way!
Yes, I would like to see a bit of the world outside a cars reach, before I die, but unless some genious actually invents a Tardis-like teleportation device (preferably still shaped as a phone booth) – it probably aint gonna happen. I might take a boat though. But I don’t swim very well, so I’m fucked if the ship sinks – but then again, I can’t fly either, so basically, if travelling, I should just write down any last wishes.
The little ones
So, I have stated the six reasons, why “You’re making me hate you” is in my top 3 of books. Well, technically, I have only stated five, but unlike Corey Taylor, I don’t have the priviledge of smoothing out a statement, by saying “apart from my own” and my sister-in-law will probably ban me from babysitting ever again, should I try to reflect or even just quote parts of my favorite chapter.
And her kid can actually be quite adorable. Especially in his Spidey outfit. I bought him that one for Christmas. Just saying. Auntie’s got taste!
That or I’m just trying to brain wash him, so we can eventually, when he gets older, talk about super heros. Well, actually, I can do that with my girlfriend too, but ever since Captain America (her hero) and Iron Man (my hero – well, one of them) had a falling out, then we’re not really getting in too deep with the Marvel discussions. That was a very awkward walk home from the theatre!
But I’m plotting my revenge. Some upcoming Christmas, I will buy the kid an Iron Man suit. Complete with iron plates, Jarvis voice effects and BOOSTERS!
They just need to invent it first.
Or maybe, I’ll just buy him a racoon and name it Rocket? Kids need pets. I read that in some scientific journal somewhere.
So, I guess, I can smooth things out a bit, but still – it’s not my kid, so I don’t have any say, as to where he can and can not spend time. I can – however – teach him how to do stuff – usually, unintentionally, the wrong way!
Like the time in the forest and he got his hands dirty with soil – his mom had been teaching him to wipe his hands against each other to get the dirt off. Auntie ruined that in a second – NOT intentionally – because I basically, instinctly, showed him how to wipe his hands in his jacket, because that was my first instinct at the time and what I did. And he still does that! Up until that point, he had very well behavedly been wiping his hands against each other to clear off dirt – but one Auntie-mishap… ONE!
Do not trust me with your kids!
I will – unintentionally – probably surely ruin the good manners, you’ve been teaching them.
And those little humans don’t seem to forget things like that.
I will, however, venturing back to the issue of reason number five, tell you that you will meet “Milt” very early on in the book and after that – if you’re just dying to know, you can hit the chapter “Children of Clods”. It’s kind of wrong to skip chapters like that, equally as criminal as taking a sneak peak at the ending of a crime novel or horror story, but if you want to ruin your reading experience, then who am I to stop you?
But before I shut down this attempt of a review from a drifting mind, I will quote Mr. Taylor:
“Proceed with caution”.
This book is not for the faint-hearted, the easily offended or the ones beyond approach. You will be forced to view yourself in a distorted, yet frighteningly clear and honest light. Kind of like the mirrors in the fitting rooms at the fashion store.
If you can’t handle that image, don’t read the book.
If you can handle that image and LOVE it – forget it, you are probably beyond approach.
NO! Your fingers should be smacked with a ruler for trying!
However, if you can look at yourself in a mirror like that and can accept – and make fun of – the floppy arm skin, the cellulite, the lump of fat on your belly or even pinch one of your butt cheeks, to see if they will indeed go north rather than south with a bit of pain stimuli – you just might be in the market for a new literary experience.
Buy Corey Taylor “You’re making me hate you” at Amazon.com
Or visit Corey Taylors website for videos, books, tour dates etc. Allow me to recommend the Live in London show.