You're Pretty Gay (2021)
By Drew Pisarra
The collection You’re Pretty Gay by Drew Pisarra was published on June 25, 2021. Pissara’s second collection of short fiction makes for a captivating set of pieces as the work takes the reader through several aspects of adulthood through a particular queer lens. Consisting of about 15 pieces and 86 pages, the collection remains engaging the entire time and makes for a great piece to read in any order at any time.
Each work consists of a darker tone of realistic experiences and fears with a side of dry humor encapsulated in a world of its own that easily draws readers in allowing them a look into the events described.
With talks of a multitude of emotions and expectations of the environment and the settings presented, the book evokes just as much back from the reader who becomes immersed in it. It welcomes the reader with a creative style that pushes them into a new mindset to view things from. Along with that, each story provides a new set of events to potentially connect to. Whether it be the questioning of your sexuality, familial interactions, bullying, and more. The visualization of internal strife and trying to find a place in a world you feel an inherent disconnect from is done quite well throughout.
The use of internal monologue and vivid language makes for some striking storytelling that makes each short story feel larger than the space it encapsulates. Through all of this, there are some interesting narrative choices that seem designed to confuse the reader as much as the narrator of the piece is, and if that is something you have difficulty reading through, those stories may not necessarily be your choice to read. He also works to create quite the strange world that often shakes apart the long-held conceptions and may mess with the mind as they get more stylistically odd.
There is much to the narrative Pisarra has created with pieces like “What Bugs Me,” “The Child Criminal,” and “The Blow” invoking memories and mindsets of childhood and high school while “Fickle” and “Flashes of the Future” draw them into early adulthood. Whichever piece you read can offer an insight into sensations like fear, triumph, and internal struggles that many can relate to on some level.
Pisarra has a way of creatively warping the expectations defined by the world and exposing the reader to perceptions and insights that are often pushed far outside of the social periphery. His descriptions of trying to understand sexuality and his breaking of heteronormativity are interesting, and his discussions of familial relationships easily invite a new perception of those who consume it.
Overall, Pisarra creates a series of stories that, with the use of creative and colorful language and technique, immerse the reader into a multitude of worlds that tug at their minds and expectations. It leads to targeting the reader's memories, emotions, and life experiences, placing them into a series of other worlds that twist their views and make them see things from a new perspective. This is a great read that can honestly be picked up and read from any point.
— Essence Saunders
California State University, Stanislaus