In The Bohemian Love Diaries: A Memoir by Slash Coleman, Slash details his journey to self-discovery through hilarious anecdotes from his childhood and beyond. He struggles to come to terms with his eccentric alcoholic father, his Holocaust-survivor mother and his own off-beat artistic tendencies. The book itself is eccentric; at times weird and hilarious and at others slow and tedious it’s a book I enjoyed reading when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to read. No matter how I was feeling it was always there to satisfy my itch for a good story yet it isn’t a book that requires a strong commitment. It’s one that can be read in short doses without feeling like it must consume your night or your life. It can be read a few chapters at a time, always available but never obsessive.
The best thing about the book was that it felt real. It’s possible, it’s always possible, that stories are embellished especially when they are being drawn from the memories of a child but the stories in The Bohemian Love Diaries felt so absurd and unusual it’s hard to believe anyone would make them up. I have stories like that in my own family; stories that are so ridiculous they simply have to be true. The opening anecdote had me near tears from laughing at the imagery. A grown man arguing with a shopkeeper about buying beer on Sunday, a fight, and a little boy in a helmet with an orange-visor relishing it all and just waiting to spew cursed venom at the cashier. It was just a story but I felt as though I was simply standing nearby watching it all unfold. I felt like a passerby who couldn’t turn away from a car crash or other pure dysfunction. I was captivated. I felt the same way with most of the other stories although I can’t say I was smitten with them all. It did feel as Slash grew older I felt myself less and less interested in the stories. The best parts were when he was a kid growing up at home with his family.
The “characters” of the book aka Slash’s family were great. It doesn’t take long after their introduction before you fully understand the family dysfunction. Slash’s father is an eccentric, volatile alcoholic with one hair-brained scheme after another. He is determined to make money and support his family by the most unconventional means available. His mother is a Holocaust-survivor but fearful for their Jewish faith to be revealed. When Slash writes in his mother’s accent you can hear her voice and you can’t help but love her despite her ever-growing frustration with her husband’s idiosyncrasies.
The Bohemian Love Diaries is warped but heart-warming. It’s obnoxious but hilarious. The people are frustrating and annoying yet hilarious and lovable. I was never really certain what was going on or what to expect next and yet I loved it all the same. It was a fun book. It was good and it made me laugh. I don’t think it’s a book I’ll feel obsessed about it but it is a book that I’m glad is on my shelf. I like knowing that if I ever hear anyone complaining about their “crazy” family I can pull out The Bohemian Love Diaries, hand it to them, and say, “Your family is nothing. Read THIS!” and know that they are guaranteed at least a few laughs.
Review by Ashley LaMarClosed the Cover