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Read about All the Dirty Parts in the Los Angeles Times

 


 

Praise for All the Dirty Parts

 

"Take one sex-crazed teenage boy and take him seriously. Don't make him the butt of an easy joke. Don't make him the star of a humiliation comedy. Let him be an idiot, a jerk, a cad, a hero. Make his desire into a rocket shooting him out of this too small life. Show his loneliness crash-landing him into pieces. It's almost impossible to write tenderly and truthfully about such things. Somehow Handler has done it."

—Jenny Offill

Teenage Kicks: Daniel Handler and Emma Straub

Wednesday September 13, 2017
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

 

In addition to his thirteen-volume sequence A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-book series All the Wrong Questions, written as Lemony Snicket, best-selling author Daniel Handler has penned numerous novels for adults, including his most recent, All the Dirty Parts (Bloomsbury). Written from the perspective of high-schooler Cole, All the Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on teenage desire in a culture of unrelenting explicitness and shunted communication, described as “a spectacular portrait of teenage male desire.” Handler spoke about All the Dirty Parts with Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers.

 


 

About All the Dirty Parts

Cole is a boy in high school. He runs cross country, he sketches, he jokes around with friends. But none of this quite matters next to the allure of sex. "Let me put it this way," he says. "Draw a number line, with zero is you never think about sex and ten is, it's all you think about, and while you are drawing the line, I am thinking about sex." Cole fantasizes about whomever he's looking at. He consumes and shares pornography. And he sleeps with a lot of girls, which is beginning to earn him a not-quite-savory reputation around school. This leaves him adrift with only his best friend for company, and then something startling starts to happen between them that might be what he's been after all this time-and then he meets Grisaille. All The Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on teenage desire in a culture of unrelenting explicitness and shunted communication, where sex feels like love, but no one knows what love feels like. With short chapters in the style of Jenny Offill or Mary Robison, Daniel Handler gives us a tender, brutal, funny, intoxicating portrait of an age when the lens of sex tilts the world. "There are love stories galore," Cole tells us, "This isn't that. The story I'm typing is all the dirty parts."

 

About Modern Lovers

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions—be they food, or friendship, or music—never go away, they just evolve and grow along with us.

 


 

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels We Are Pirates, The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, and Why We Broke Up, a 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for many books for children, including the thirteen-volume sequence A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-book series All the Wrong Questions. He is married to the illustrator Lisa Brown, and lives with her and their son in San Francisco.


Emma Straub is the New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Elle, and Conde Nast Traveler, and she is a contributing writer for Rookie. Straub’s work has been published in fifteen countries. She is owner of the independent book store Books are Magic.