Updated: Nov 21, 2020
It's not a secret that Charles Bukowski is in my mental list of top favorite authors across all genres, not just transgressive fiction. In all of his works he writes with conviction. His writing style is one that influences many. And his story telling, whether it be a novel or a poem, is a distinctive one. He was notorious for casting a light on obscenities of working class American life.
There's no question about it, he is a great fucking writer ... but I am not writing this blog post to join the league of bukowski groupies ... instead, I thought I would share which book of his stood out to me the most of all his phenomenal works: You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense.
Published in 1986, I would not buy and read this book for the first time until about 2013.
One of the first times I had ever even heard of Charles Bukowski was in reference to this specific book. I had been falling down the YouTube worm hole that day watching Ted Talks, author interviews, and how to write videos.
Yeah. I was that kid in school.
I probably watched about a hundred videos and clips before an old 80's looking interview caught my eye of an old man with squinty eyes. It was captioned Charles Bukowski on dying and how to write. The subtitles were in a language I didn't understand and it looked like an old old video. But the way the wrinkled man spoke and the way he talked about writing captivated me. After the video was over and I was left in awe I scrolled through the next few recommended videos. One of them ended up being a reading of Charles Bukowski's book, you guessed it, You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense.
Fun fact about me, I hate audiobooks. I cannot be read to because not a single word will register. I am a visual reader through and through.
So I clicked off the video and decided to look up any samples of this book online. The internet had nothing to offer me so I threw my hands up in the air, went on Amazon, and just bought the damn book because I was certain it would be worth reading and if not -- no harm done, at least I gave it a shot.
I had completely forgotten that I had ordered it until the day it came in the mail.
I read the whole book from front to back that day.
By the end of that year I think I had reread it over a dozen times.
It became a sort of bible to me in some unorthodox way. I could escape into his poems and his words and think, I'd rather be fucked up than boring. It was a comforting thing for me to read this mans writing religiously because at that time in my life I felt like I was confined to my own thoughts and this book was the only suitable release for me.
That's where my adoration of Charles Bukowski began. It was off to the races after that.
The Book Itself
The book itself is pretty fucking great to read.
Even after the dozen times that I have read it, it still hasn't gotten old.
There are a hundreds of reasons I could give as to why I recommend this book to anyone but the most important one is this: the book reads like a conversation.
The irony in this is the title of the book being You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense, you suddenly don't feel lonely when you read it and flip the pages one by one.
The poems in this are one conversation after another with an intelligent drunken old man who has lived deeply.
To anyone who is new to transgressive fiction or even Bukowski, this is one of the first pieces of literature you have to read. It sets the tone of what to expect from the genre and from this iconic author. It's one that I can honestly say has been one of the best reads of my life to date.
Have you read anything from Charles Bukowski? Do you have a favorite?
Let's talk about it in the comments or feel free to reach out to me.
About the Author
Natalie Nider is the author of upcoming novella
Just Leave It Out and creator of Trainwreck Tendencies.
She has turned her love of Transgressive Fiction and Dirty Realism into a passion.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her family where she can often be found writing or staring into an eggshell wall thinking about it.