The PopCult Bookshelf
I’m reviewing this book today because the author will appear tonight at the Third Eye Cabaret (The Cellar, 8 Capitol Street) and this is a great chance to meet Sheila Kerr, hear part of her story, and purchase your own signed copy of the book.
It’s always a bit awkward reviewing a work by someone you consider a friend because as a reviewer, I have to be honest and luckily, that is not a problem here. “Distorted Thoughts” is a unique creation. Part journal, part blog, part sketchbook, but at its soul, it is a heartfelt confessional. Some of the book is handwritten, most of it is typeset, but it works very well on a graphic level.
Sheila has a very casual and accessible writing style. You can imagine much of the writing in this book as blog entries or notes on Facebook. The language and situations are frank and, at times, intense. But the overall effect is one of a conversation. At the end of the book, you’ll feel as though you’ve sat down and met a new friend.
Basically, “Distorted Thoughts” chronicles a chaotic period of Sheila’s life where she was between jobs, between relationships, and questioning her every motive. She has philosophical discussions with herself and struggles with finding her lot in life.
This is a shockingly honest, warts and all account. She talks of binge drinking. There’s frank discussions of sex and intense self examination. Some of this book might make the reader squirm as Sheila delivers what some would consider too much information.
Yet “Distorted Thoughts” is an engaging portrait of a likeable person. It’s a bit of a celebration of the imperfection within us all.
Were this a work of fiction, the twists and turns of Sheila’s life might lead you to believe that you were being led toward a tragic ending. That is not the case here. “Distorted Thoughts” is almost a version of “Letters From the Front” following one woman’s journey as she realizes that she was in an abusive relationship and is still in the process of recovering from that trauma. Knowing that she is now happy and healthy makes this work all the more remarkable.
It doesn’t hurt that Sheila’s writing style, even in her darkest moments, is bright and entertaining. She has a strong comic voice (and is currently performing around town as a stand-up commedienne) and a flair for realism.
“Distorted Thoughts” is a different and challenging book, a terrific first effort by an author with a unique voice. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.