Welcome to Beach Reads. This is a feature based on the Date This Book feature that Janie originated on this blog back in 2018. Instead of dating a book that will inevitably break our heart, we will, at a safe distance, ask a book some questions to find out if it's a good Beach Read. Look, we know that's a big cliché. Maybe we're a big cliché. In the words of Logan Roy: You are not serious people. Fuck off. We will look at the cover to see if it would work well on a beach. Do we want to take a beach selfie with this book and post it to our 7 Instagram followers? Do we want to ponder the mysteries while reading this book drinking a cool refreshing beverage and eating pistachios with sand in our hair?
First up, Gina Tron's memoir Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder. It is now available for pre-order from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press and will exist in the world later this month, which is perfect timing for the beach. It's important to have enough time to coordinate your beach outfit with the cover of the book you're reading. This is what Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder's cover looks like:
It's a pretty cool cover. It reminds us of the Hellraiser labyrinth but everything reminds us of the Hellraiser labyrinth. We don't know if that in the foreground with the title is a pool of blood or a plate of blood. Or a plate of heavily sauced pasta. And a neon sign with the writer's name in pink. The sign feels out of place. This feels like an eerie dream where there's a party in a dungeon somewhere and it's a bad idea but you go anyway, hypnotized by a strange underground beat.
This is what it says about the book on the site: "Gina Tron takes you to a perfect world cushioned with safety and sweetness like a plump Gusher. In Eat, Pray, Love, the protagonist travels around the world following her divorce to find purpose, meaning, and then love again. Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder is a much bleaker version of that story. In the midst of breakups with a serious boyfriend and a literary agent, Gina does some traveling, some eating, and writes about murder for work, but — spoiler — she does not fall in love again."
We don't know what that means ("like a plump Gusher"?) but we think if you were reading this book, holding this cover in your hands, on the beach, you would look pretty cool. People would be like, "Eat, Fuck (Write About) Murder? What in the hell kind of a book is that?" and be intrigued. Maybe they would even ask about the book and allow you to reply mysteriously and vaguely, wearing your book-cover coordinated beach outfit of serious greys and pink, peering behind dark, large sunglasses and a wide sun hat like an Italian actress: "Oh it's impossible to explain! Really... you have to read it yourself." Other people would probably be more like: "Hey! You in the dollar store hat! There are children here. This is a family beach! A family beach!"
We're undecided but think we're going to give it a pretty high beach cover score. It's ominous. It has pow factor. It has weird factor. It will upset fathers. If it makes you friends those friends will probably have issues that lead to unnecessary clusterfuck drama and misery.
"They say women's intuition is strong, but a book's intuition is never wrong."
MMPPL: Hi Gina. Your memoir Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder is coming out soon. Please let your book answer because we're trying to Separate the Art from the Artist and be objective. Firstly, Book (not Author), what the heck is going on in Vanderpumps Rules? If you were a cast member on Vanderpump Rules who would you be and why? Send a photo of a VPR cast member that encapsulates you.
EF(WA)M: Well, the annoying person who wrote me is obsessed with that show, and she created a lot of me while watching it. So I would like to think that I'm pretty well-versed in the drama. Right now, on the show, some of the cast members are starting to suspect that Tom Sandoval is sleeping with Raquel Leviss. And he is. They say women's intuition is strong, but a book's intuition is never wrong. Gina is eagerly awaiting the next episode and the reunion. I'm ready to watch the episodes of Jersey Shore again, where the cast visits Italy. They look stupid there and out of place, just like Gina.
I bet that Gina would like to think I'm like Ariana Madix because I was written in the midst of a breakup. But the breakup at the core of me does not involve betrayal. Ariana did deal with the breakup shortly after the loss of her beloved dog and grandmother. Gina was coping with body image issues after cancer surgery in addition to the breakup. So there's some extra pain involved, but Ariana is very beloved, and her breakup was groundbreaking. Gina is not that beloved (I'm sick of her because she keeps editing me and I want her to stop as I think I'm perfect now) and her breakup was pretty unremarkable. I'd say I'm more like Katie Maloney because Katie is also going through a breakup and she is out in Europe right now, sitting on a beach in Spain. Like Gina, she is rebounding. Katie found a younger man named Satchel; I doubt they will last. I won't even comment on Gina's ridiculous dating choices she made within my beautiful pages.
MMPPL: Wait there is a man named Satchel? Like the bag? Incidentally our new MMPPL theme is The Cat's Out of the BAG (please submit!)! It's a small lit world. We hope it works out for them, or not. It sounds like Gina went through a lot and if this interview was about her we would follow up on that. But back to the premade questions: Imagine that you'd get murdered soon and could only eat ONE egg meal before you die, what would you eat? How would you eat those eggs book??
EF(WA)M: I am an American big boy of a book, and yet I am set in Sicily. Do you understand how difficult it is to find a traditional egg meal for breakfast there? There are cafes on every corner, and yet all you will find are delicious pastries. Some of the best pastries you'll ever have in your life. Cannolis and cassata and things crammed with sweet ricotta. But no eggs for us big American boys who want a healthy four plates of bacon and eggs with an extra large, creamy iced coffee for breakfast. And all the eggs at the store are not in the fridge. So I'd ask my deranged creator to please smush a warm-temperature egg in between each one of my pages until I am satisfied and full. I hate her, and I wish she would stop editing me.
MMPPL: We think you should do that, with the eggs. Or your writer. As a promotion stunt. Like the book promotion stunts people used to do back in 2012 when they had energy and believed in things. It occurs to us now that it might be hard to Separate the Art from the Artist if the Art in question is a memoir so maybe this interview will be a failure, but that's fine. We're fine with failure. Why memoir? Do you feel like a memoir? How many memoirs is Gina going to write? Like there should be a limit. Are you the best one? Are there any memoirs you look up to? Or hate with a passion?
" Typical. Here I am trying to show how beautiful a beach in Sicily can be but you guys are gonna like Gina's stories where she whines about being bullied in high school or cries about psych ward food not being tasty enough more instead."
EF(WA)M: I feel like a memoir but also a remix of a much more famous memoir. The thing that created me (Gina) likes writing memoirs about parts of her life. This is her second memoir to be published. She has a third one coming out this year. As Gina has taught in some of her classes, memoir is not the same as an autobiography. A person can write many memoirs. A memoir captures a small part of a person's life, often a moment of struggle or a learning lesson. It is not a life story. I am the least dark out of her three memoirs and I resent my two siblings for being so goth. I am the best one yet I will probably be the least liked. Typical. Here I am trying to show how beautiful a beach in Sicily can be but you guys are gonna like Gina's stories where she whines about being bullied in high school or cries about psych ward food not being tasty enough more instead. I'm a big happy American boy who wears bright clothing and complains less than them. While all of Gina's memoirs are often dark and capture moments of pain, Gina actually spends most of her time laughing. Nobody wants to read about the boring, happy times when there is no drama. Everyone loves drama. I also don't like when Gina is happy. I resent her for editing me. Gina was reading Maggie Nelson's The Red Parts while writing me. I like that memoir and I think of it as an aunt of sorts. While that book is a memoir, it touches on the American obsession with violence. I do that too. I like to show how embedded violence and trauma are in Gina and Americans in general. I am also proud to say that I reveal how America's feelings of identity are strongly linked to our productivity. Gina likes memoir that weaves in elements of journalism. She likes to write about her own life when it says something bigger about society, or at least that big-headed writer would like to think that. I hate her other memoirs because they aren't me.
MMPPL: Ooh tell us more about the beaches of Sicily. How do the beaches compare to other beaches? This is a Beach feature. We've been to Italy but not Sicily and it was... fine. Why did you end up there anyway? I guess that's in the book. Gina seems to move around a lot. We're also interested in the American obsession with violence. How do you touch on that?
EF(WA)M: Gina spent a lot of time looking at the Tyrrhenian Sea. One of the Airbnbs she stayed at was just blocks away from the water. She'd walk down and enjoy its turquoise beauty, daily. She also took a small boat out to the Tyrrhenian Islands, some of which are active volcanoes. One of the beaches on the island of Vulcano was full of black sand. Unfortunately, (honestly, I am laughing at her for this) she didn't lay out on the beach too much because it was winter. The weather was in the 50s and 60s when she was there. That space cadet even wore sandals a few times when true Scilians were wearing coats and scarves. Because it was off-season, Gina ended up being the only tourist on some islands and the isolation triggered her own experiences with violence. Between trying to overcome fear from an attack and writing about men attacking women all day for her day job, I try to make a lot of commentary on how hard and scary it can be to maneuver in the world as a woman. Especially when alone. Gina wrote true crime for a living and as we all know, women are usually not the perpetrators. This did not help Gina feel safe when walking down alleys alone to get to her temporary apartments.
She chose Sicily because her mom's side is Sicilian and it seemed like a beautiful place to visit. Gina felt bad that her mom and grandma had never made it to Sicily, despite talking about wanting to go. After undergoing cancer surgery, Gina's sense of mortality changed. She wanted to travel more than ever, especially since her job was remote and allowed her to do so. Living in Sicily was less expensive than living in New York City. It was quite affordable and also delicious. After Gina went through a breakup in 2018, she decided it would be wise to rebound somewhere far away. She had been planning on settling down in Vermont before that breakup. Ironically, she has now settled down in Vermont and with the character she longs to connect with the most in me. Gina is so pathetic, she was longing to see this man, her decades-long crush even when she is visiting Tunisia. It's like, Gina, get a life. They are married now and he designed my sexy cover. They are pretty cute together so I guess her longing had some root in reality. Anyway, I hope you read my pages.
"That being said, do not place me on the shelf next to any Virgos or Scorpio books. They are jealous of the thiccness of my spine."
MMPPL: That's all very... cute. We're just trying to find out if we will look cool reading this book or if we'll be made fun of. We're thinking about the beach and being less depressed, for our heads to be empty and our toes buried in hot sand. We want a very cold beverage. We know that Gina is a libra (obviously) but what sign are you? Or do you think astrology is just a big waste of time?
EF(WA)M: Gina's libra ass likes to see the good in everyone and that's partly why I look down on her. I am an adventurous and tactless Sagittarius. I am an independent and sexy big boy of a book. I do not put much stock in zodiac signs. That being said, do not place me on the shelf next to any Virgos or Scorpio books. They are jealous of the thiccness of my spine.
MMPPL: Did your writer always want to be a writer? It seems like such a terrible and self-obsessed profession. We are imagining a serious child wanting to be a writer using big words, being insufferable. Does she collect a lot of weird things? What posters did she have on her walls as a serious writer child?
EF(WA)M: Gina has wanted to be a writer since she was a weird young bud. She has a lot of Slimer and egg things, mostly gifts from people because they know how much she likes things that don't matter. I for one dated Slimer and he's nothing to write home about. When she was a pre-teen she had a lot of posters of dogs on the wall when her peers had posters of male actors. To make herself seem more normal, she put up posters of Devon Sawa but she really had no interest in him. Then as she aged a bit, she began cutting out magazine ads of clothing she liked and stuck them all over her ugly bedroom walls. The walls were not as beautiful as the pages inside of me.
MMPPL: We liked Devon Sawa in SLC! Punk. That was good acting. And one of our friends has a Devon Sawa fan club. Do you dream of being made into a movie? Who would be in EF(WA)M if it was a movie and what kind of a movie would it be? A romantic comedy or a horror movie?
EF(WA)M: I would like to be a movie. The stories behind Gina's two other memoirs have already been optioned. One was funded and a full feature-length script was written. But in the end, it didn't make it to the big screen. The other was recently turned into a pilot and it is a quarterfinalist for a screenplay contest. But I don't think those two books got what it takes. I'm a big boy that knows that if I was optioned, I would be turned into a movie within a week. And Danny Devito would play Gina. In fact, he would play all the characters. I should be a one-man play of a movie. It would be a romantic comedy, except for the lack of romance and comedy.
MMPPL: Seems like the other memoirs are doing pretty well for themselves. We're bored now and hungry so we think we'd like to conclude this interview and go for lunch. Does the book have any lunch suggestions or any final words for why EF(WA)M would be a good book to read on a beach? This is your last chance to make your case before we make our final decision. In truth, we mostly read fast paced detective stories with miserable sad protagonists and erotic thrillers so we're not thrilled about Memoirs. We're torn, we're discombobulated, but the cover looks like it could be a fast paced erotic detective thriller.
EF(WA)M: Yes. Grab a slide of lo sfincione, aka Sicilian pizza. This chonky boy square of tomato sauce and anchovies will make you a hit on a hot, windy beach.
I'm a great book to read on a beach because, despite my dark parts, I am very funny. You can laugh at Gina as she tries to communicate with men on Tinder in a different country. She already had trouble talking to men in America. She also gets very uncomfortable when one man tried to put some "romantic" moves on her, so I laugh at that a lot. If you are perfect, like me, you can laugh at how awkward Gina is from your elegant and non-awkward beach towel.
Final decision: REJECTED.
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