Smith, Bob. “Selfish & Perverse”, DeCapo Press, 2007,
Bob Smith is a very funny guy and a very good author. He is considered to be the first openly gay comedian to appear on “The Tonight Show as well as to have his own HBO comedy show. He has also appeared on “Politically Incorrect” “Entertainment Tonight” and “Out There” as well as having won the Lambda Literary Award for his first book, a collection of essays, “Openly Bob”. His new book “Selfish & Perverse” is one of those books that will have you both laughing and crying and is a comedic tale in the grand tradition of wit and hilarity.
Smith gives us the story of Nelson Kunker, a guy whose life has reached a standstill. He can’t finish his writing of the great American novel, he works at a mediocre job in Hollywood and is unable to find a man to love him, He is 34 and questions himself, doubting whether he’s really a gay man or just a man with a lot of talent. Nelson meets Roy Biggs who he thinks has the attributes that he is looking for in a man except that Roy has the unique profession of being an Alaskan salmon fisherman and a student of archeology. As Roy tells Nelson an eerie story about whales,
the two find something in each other and just as they begin to think that there is something serious going on, a handsome and hunky movie star with a questionable past appears, He is Dylan Fabizak, owner of a fantastically beautiful body and a desire to learn a little about everything, but who just happens to be on parole after he had been involved in a very high brow drug bust. Nelson finds him himself mysteriously attracted to Dylan and the three men set out on a fishing trip in far away wilderness of Alaska. Nelson is amazed that after thinking that there was no one in the world for him, there are two men who both want him and are ready to fight over him.
It is here that the hilarity of the novel really gets going and Nelson’s life somewhat resembles that of a salmon. The salmon in an attempt to find a partner for sex will travel miles and in the process must avoid and be more intelligent than fishermen who want to catch him for food. Dylan, Hunter, Roy and their lesbian friend Wendy are only some of the characters you will meet in this wonderful book and you will laugh your way through the pages of “Selfish & Perverse”.
I love the comparison of Nelson to the fish and how both will stand up to all the obstacles and sacrifice all for the sake of love.
The one-liners come fast and they are gems.\
Smith’s take on the way gay men court are also amazing and how he ties cruising to fishing for salmon will keep you laughing long after you have closed the covers of this very well written novel. There is also sex in this novel and Smith also manages to inject humor into his very sexy way of writing. The book is not just funny but it a very clear observation of the way we date with several very touching scenes. Smith can write a really good story and this book shows us just that.