CELEBRITY BOOK REVIEW: Sinéad O’Connor on “Nothing” by Blake Butler
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by Courtney Maum
I am SO lucky to have such an important network of deep and loyal fans and very good friends, and these people are like family, and in the face of the recent nasty media coverage (especially the Irish media, shame onya), I was instantly surrounded by a lot of concern about my well being, not to mention my own. Lots of fans and internet friends sent me thoughts and flowers and one person sent me Nair (’cause of my hairy arms on Gawker, LOL) and someone else, a book. And the book is called Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia. And it’s by Blake Butler. Well, Blake Butler, Nothing Compares to You!
The clever yam-banger who sent this to me did so because I’ve had trouble sleeping this last year. I was on MEDICATION and then there was my Irish Independent man advert and all the prudish people honking because I admitted liking the difficult brown in the classifieds. Well excuse me for talking about a#&^ sex and cave men! I thought we were in the year two-thousand-twelve but I guess we’re still in the ice age, you frigid bunch of cacks!
My fellows in horn, this book is just so moving. I mean, I was frickin weeping by the third page, the chapter of which is “The Hole Inside The Hole Inside The Hole Inside The House.” Sometimes I have trouble leaving my house and you know I’m a fan of holes so obviously, I was hooked by this chapter although I don’t read often.
It is very very very sad to always be awake. While I read this I felt like Blake Butler was inside me. And I am not even trying to be perverted (LOL, 4 once!), I really thought (and you see, again, the crying), this chap knows what it is to be different. Page 20: “If I’d never slept near other people… I might have never realized my dysfunction, despite night never seeming right: always most awake at point of ending…a continuum reversed.” Blake, I am always awake at the point of ending — that is why three hours into my most recent marriage I was like, no, nuh-uh, cast off. When you really love someone you have to set them free.
I also thought it bloody gorgeous how he wrote about fat problems. I’ve had a wee bit of trouble with the fat myself, as many so-called “journalists” have been very keen to say! It isn’t my fault because I was on the meds but you know when you are a female singer in the world, you have to be all skin. There is a page where he writes about cereal and the way it felt to stuff it all inside him and I thought, writer, I have been there. “The crunch of cold milk with increasingly soggy flakes…the food filling up the space where otherwise would have fed the silence of the terror.”
Obviously you know what my next point is going to be and it’s going to be that Blake Butler is a hot sex and gorgeous bastard! It is a bloody shame that he didn’t answer my personal ad for a snuggle bear to go all panto with because I would have shown him the old bum-cheeka-bum!
Honestly I did not even plan on reading this book but obviously by the point where he admitted that he used to mow his parents’ lawn listening to a cassette tape of people fucking, I was hooked. But it isn’t just the sexxxxx, guys, also, it is beautiful. He talks about self-doubt and too much cereal and how he just can’t sleeping and then all of the sudden we hear about his dad putting meatloaf away in cabinets with all the pretty dishes and this part made me cry because my own mum wasn’t so well you know, and sometimes I’m not either. All the flowers that you planted, mother, in the backyard — mummy, I remember.
After getting married and splitting up and getting back with No.4 again in a whizzie seven days — because this is what love is — I‘ve reunited with my hubalicious Barry Herridge, who in addition to being a hairy cave man is an addiction counselor for teens. He was the one who was like “SM, if you like this book so much you should tell people because you have a lot of power on the internet and then other people will read it and you will help them, too.” So this is why I have taken back to blogging even though my publicist said: NO MORE.
Blake, the last line in your book is: “Among the light you sit inside our body. Among the white you start to type.” I very much want to DM you and type all sorts of private things into the white but my rainy-parade publicist made me take down my twitter so all I can say is that I like Nothing very much.
by Blake Butler
— Courtney Maum is a fiction writer based in between the Berkshires of Massachusetts and New York City. Her work has recently appeared online in Tin House, Blip, The Rumpus, Vol.1, Anderbo and others. A frequent reader at NY-based series and a Literary Death Match champion, she’s currently working on a collection of comic fiction. Find her on Twitter at @cmaum
Editor’s note: Any resemblances to actual celebrities — alive or dead — are miraculously coincidental. For more Celebrity Book Review, click here.