Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Squalor by Brian Grosz is a book like no other I have read, a book that reads like a stream of consciousness. From the first page — from the dedication itself — the reader is swept into the author’s mindset and his thoughts that come out as uncouth and unalloyed. Warning: this is not the book for you if you don’t like curses and cusses and swearwords and diatribes. Yes, because you will find powerful observations in this book and some of them are raw, so raw you’ll feel like ants are crawling on your skin. And you’ll know right away upon opening this book that the title is justified by the author’s style. In this collection, readers are introduced to a variety of writing, which combines poetry, haikus, personal observations, descriptive prose, and narrative to offer a great reading experience to readers.
The author leads readers through dirty places, bars, bathrooms, and his dreams, allowing the reader to feel his deceptions, his thrills, and the pain of just being human. He swears a lot, cusses, and emits an energy that is raw and intoxicating. Some of the lines are stinking and some are very insightful. Listen to this: “The page doesn’t give a flaming sack of cat-shit if you can cobble the thoughts in your brain into the right amount of syllables.” But then he suddenly shows the interesting and humorous part of him in this pithy line: “As the 75-year-old man on my darts team said to me, ‘Kids these days don't realize that vaginas used to have pubic hair and marijuana used to have seeds.’” Squalor is a great read that will remind readers of the high and low days, and Brian Grosz has a gift for wit and entertainment.