It’s Friday!!!!! Today’s indie author is Allen Long, here with his memoir, Less Than Human. It’s received positive reviews, with one Amazon reviewer stating the ‘….writing style is unique in that in draws the reader in, tells of sadness experienced by the author, but has an undertone of triumph and joy.’
“In Less than Human,” Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than… he is, indeed… human.
“Less than Human” follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, creates its own form of suspense-in what direction will this book take us next?
What are your favorite books in your genre?
My favorite memoir books include:
- This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
- Townie by Andre Dubus III
- Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Wherever I Wind Up by R.A. Dickey
- Fortunate Son by John Fogerty
- A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
- Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
- Clapton by Eric Clapton
What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?
One reviewer said she enjoyed the high number of surprises in the book and not knowing what was going to happen next. My book is about how I overcame child abuse, PTSD, and a nightmarish marriage before finally finding true love and happiness. Several readers have commented that the narrator’s triumphant and joyful voice assures the reader that everything will turn out all right. I divorced my first wife because she cheated on me several times and was verbally abusive to our three sons and me. When my oldest son read my book, he thanked me for making his mom a well-rounded sympathetic character, despite her bad behavior. This is my favorite comment.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
My book is populated by a number of villains, the three worst being my parents and my ex-wife. While I’ve made peace with my parents, my ex-wife has been hostile toward me since we split up in 1992, despite the fact that I was the wronged party. My ex-wife’s family and I believe she has a chemical imbalance in her brain that she has never attempted to correct by working with a psychiatrist. I wish her good luck in fighting this affliction.
What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?
Chocolate chip. In general, I’m not crazy about cookies. I find them too sweet without satisfying flavor, but chocolate chip cookies really hit the spot.
Any unusual talents or hobbies?
I’ve been swimming ever since I was five. Swimming was a great comfort to me as I was growing up in an abusive household. I actually became addicted to swimming as an adult. My book contains the story of my swimming addiction and cure.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?
Current favorite TV shows include The Walking Dead, Black Sails, Game of Thrones, and The Magicians. Also, just watched the movie Arrival.
Allen Long was born in New York City and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in fiction writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Arizona. He has been an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine since 2007, and his fiction and memoirs have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines. He lives with his wife near San Francisco.