REVIEW by Willard Manus
Chloe Caldwell will never be a major writer, someone who can put a whole
country on trial in a single work. Shes too self-absorbed and confessional
for that, too limited in scope and sensibility, at her best only when
writing in a personal vein. But that doesnt mean she cant
be read with pleasure. For proof, pick up ILL TELL YOU IN PERSON,
a collection of twelve essays published by Coffee House Press.
In each of the essays, the 31-year-old Caldwell writes about her feelings
and observations in a cheeky, irreverent and New Age Girl
kind of way (she even quotes from the Deadeye Dick song: She dont
eat meat but she sure likes the bone.) No topic is off-limits or
taboo: Caldwell talks openly about masturbation, blow jobs, acne, boy
and girl friends, making bad choices in life (I fucked up 18 times
and Im about to do it again), binge-eating, doing weed, heroin,
coke and Ecstasy, her party-girl behavior and bouts of depression, the
way she used to mischievously stroke a boys leg to give him an erection
in class and embarrass him.
What also emerges from this wicked self-portrait is her capacity for friendship
and love, her abiding sense of humor, her deft way with language. Caldwell
might be playing in a minor key but she does it with flair and finesse.