Branum, Guy. ““My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un) Popular Culture”, Atria, 2018.
Guy Branum’s “My Life as a Goddess” is a collection of essays by the stand-up comedian who from a young age felt as if he were on the outside looking in. Branum is self-taught and introspective. He hails from a stiflingly boring farm town where he couldn’t relate to his neighbors. While other boys played outside, he stayed indoors reading. He was gay and overweight and became used to diminishing himself. However, through his reading, he started learning from all the other sad, strange, lonely outcasts in history who had come before him, and he actually developed a sense of hope.
This is a collection of personal essays in which Branum talks about finding a sense of belonging at Berkeley as well as stirring up controversy in a newspaper column that led to a meeting with the Secret Service. He writes about being typecast as the “Sassy Gay Friend,” and how, after beginning law school, he found stand‑up comedy and artistic freedom. He looks at and analyzes how society deprives us of personhood and does so with calculation especially regarding fat people, and how, it has taken him a while to accept who he is and has one can accept himself but it often takes patience and humor.
The essays are filled equally with wit, guile, and rumination yet they are sensitive and moving. He dares to say what most of us are afraid to utter and he has the guts to make it sound 100% correct. Yes, he is funny but he is also empowering, and very different from anything we’ve ever read. I found myself thinking deeply as I was laughing while I read. It is his intellectual curiosity and moral sure-footedness that make wonderful. He blesses us with insights into “walking paths less traveled” as well as into what self-acceptance means in a world that is still not ready to accept difference.