Cummings, Don. “Bent but Not Broken”, Heliotrope Books LLC, 2019.
A Memoir About Peyronie’s Disease
Don Cumming’s “Bent but Not Broken” is a personal and honest memoir about Peyronie’s disease, “a painful and sexually limiting condition that is estimated to affect more than 5% of the worldwide adult male population.” Don Cummings writes about the emotional and collateral damage brought on by a suddenly curved penis as he struggles to maintain his sense of sex and self. He does so with humor as he shares the details about his doctor’s visits, his treatments, and his anxiety over the state of his long-term relationship with a man who is supportive but often helpless. Cumming’s domestic life takes a hit and he tells us about his hyper-active sexual past. His extreme sexual were part of his quest to minimize the effects of his disorder.
Don Cummings invented a new genre, the phallic memoir, with the writing of this book. He writes of his private torments and gives us a a story of winning and transcending.
This is the story of a penis and its owner as well as a look at the nature of love, relationships, and how we are betrayed by our bodies. Cummings wants to be human and have what so many of us long for—”love, intimacy, money, fame, and sex.” We see his honesty through his humor as he pulls us into his life. He could have written this just for laughs but he decided to also write about his outrage. He uses his disease as a way to look at his relationship with his husband, Adam and he does so beautifully including what a gay relationship is or should be today.
Cummings’s story is written with respect and sensitivity. By bringing us into his life we learn that many men see their penises as representative of their entire identities. We cannot help but identify with him as he reflects on his life and what aging, family, sex and love mean to him. I totally respect his honesty and I love the way he searches for truth.