Review: Futureproof

Skin and blood and experience.

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A great thing about putting out my own book is that it has gotten me in contact with other writers, people who run book sites, and the like. I contacted Frank at his Myspace page because I found him on Lulu and it looked like his book came from the same place. We agreed to send signed copies of our books to each other.

He's on a crusade to get taken seriously by publishers: self-publishing the book and then trying to get word-of-mouth to spread. It should happen. Used to be that publishers took on writers who looked promising. Now itís about marketing the one book and if that book doesn't sell the writer is fucked for a very long time. In the old days, Frank Daniels would have been taken seriously right off. He's obviously the real thing who has a lot of writing in his future. The book reads like it was screaming to be written.

The book's even more amazing considering what he's been through, came from. He's a memoirist/novelist who's got a quote from James Frey on the cover, but it says "a novel" under the title, as it should. His stepdad's a lot like Dwight from Tobias Wolff's This Boyís Life. Seems weird to compare two memoirs/real lives but that's what struck me. The book stuck with me like Wolff's. This is a pretty densely packed 270 pages but it reads quickly. Every image is vivid and effortless.

Why are these people who live totally fucked-up lives able to write entire books? I guess because they do everything large and hard and that's what it takes to write a novel. This is not the zombie story of Tony O'Neillís Digging the Vein. Even if they go through some of the same stuff, Tony was alone, just him and the drugs. Frank Daniels is with friends and girlfriends and family, it's a collective thing. This is about an entire life.

Kerouac, Miller, Bukowski, the big three are all autobiographical writers. They're not just selling their novels, they're selling their lives, and there's something enduring about that. You get a picture of the time in a much different way than a purely fictional novel. It's the autobiographical writers who have become the underground Gods. The people who lived as hard as they wrote, or wrote as hard as they lived. N. Frank Daniels is another one and should be around for a while.

Check out N. Frank Daniels' book site, his blog, make him a Myspace friend. Spread the word.

[Henry Baum]

Futureproof by N. Frank Daniels
Lulu
270 Pages