Pratt, David. “My Movie: Stories”, Chelsea Station Editions, 2012.
I met David Pratt last May at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, a little after his first Lambda Award Winning bonk, “Bob the Book” came out. I remember thinking to myself as I read his book that whoever wrote it must be a really nice guy with a vivid imagination. As for the imagination, meeting David did not let me see that but I can only say many things about what a nice person he is. That makes it a bit hard to review his new book, “My Movie” because I consider him a friend and reviewing a friend means putting aside any feelings I have bout the person (or if I should not like the book, convincing myself that I really dislike him). I am happy to say that the book reinforces my original opinion of Pratt and it is an absolutely amazing read.
This is a collection of fourteen short stories which show the range, versatility and cleverness of David Pratt. The common theme running through the stories is memory and I was constantly reminded of Tennessee Williams and what he said about “The Glass Menagerie”,
“the play is memory”. I firmly believe that we forget how memory influences our lives and the way we do things and Pratt shows here that if you stop and think before doing something, you will be guided by memory as how to function in a certain situation.
Most of the stories here have been previously published in such respected places as “Christopher Street”, “Chelsea Station”, “Velvet Mafia” and “The James White Review” as well in other publications and on web sites and in anthologies. Each story is unique unto itself yet when we take them all together we get a peek at the gay mind at work and at play. Of course there is a coming-of-age story and there is speculative fiction and there are also references to movies and videos.
I suppose that the only way to review a short story collection is to do so story by story which I will not do because I feel it is important for the reader to draw his own conclusions but I will say that each story is a gem and because of that I cannot choose a favorite. I think that more than anything else this collection looks at how to deal with our gay sexualities. Sometimes we need to be reminded that being gay is not just about sex—there is so much more to it. (See Simon Doonan, “Gay Men Don’t Get Fat.”). But do not fear, there is also erotica here but what makes it different is that it is literary. If you have ever read my reviews you know that I have been cheering for what I call “literary smut” and Pratt does it just fine. (No, he is not a smut monger and there is just enough erotica to get you excited).
\Pratt’s prose is almost poetic and he has a way with words. It seems as if each word is hand chosen and put into a sentence that is constructed for its singular purpose. Whether writing about grief or passion, Pratt draws you in and charms you with the beauty of his prose and the uniqueness of his stories. If you read no other short story collection this year, make sure this is the one that you do read. Then you might find yourself reading it again… and again.