"The Golden Path, Volume 1" -- Part 4 of a Multi-Part Review
Click here for "A Short History of Choose Your Own Adventure"
Click here for Dr. Stephen Future's "Golden Path Review, PART ONE"
Click here for Miracle Jones' "Golden Path Review, PART TWO"
Click here for Goodman Carter's "Golden Path Review, PART THREE"

My colleagues at the Fiction Circus have received the galley proofs of Chooseco's new choose-your-own-adventure offering, The Golden Path, Volume 1: Into the Hollow Earth, with opprobrium and disbelief. Rather than critically engaging with the work, their reviews were but restatements--albeit, creative ones--of their collective opinion that the book was ridiculous and stupid.

Is this a viable golden path? Or are our priorities all backwards?

That is because at heart they are Modernists, clinging to the notion that literature must be "objective." They did not respond to author Anson Montgomery's premise that THEY are the main character of The Golden Path Or, worse, they responded in an ironic spirit. A sword can kill a man but it is irony that cripples him.

My colleagues think it's wrong to identify with characters in books, that it isn't "properly" literary. With their faith in literary objectivity, they wish to give themselves, as artists, bogus status in a threatening world. They are afraid of feelings other than cold superiority and despair.

I respect my colleagues but I reject their FEAR of real literature. Every book that I read is about ME. I was Starbuck in Moby Dick; I was Roger in Lord of the Flies; and now in The Golden Path, Volume 1 I finally get to truly be myself, Xerxes Verdammt.

ME, Xerxes Verdammt, talking to Dresdale Hamilton in The Golden Path, Volume 1. She is a fucking bitch sometimes!!!

At first in The Golden Path it seems like I have the best life. My parents are moral citizens and intellectuals, but human at the same time. I am not overshadowed by their expectations of me or anything. Additionally, they don't criticize me or my projects or my life. They even know that, despite loving them and everything, I might not want to be around them all the time. So they let me go to a real "English" boarding school, except it's in America so everyone is normal.

I have two "best" friends. They resemble Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter books, but that ignores the fact that they are MY friends, NOT random literary characters.

Dresdale Hamilton is smart and hot. She is always so NERVOUS and worked-up about everything. She can seem cold and cruel, and her blue eyes will flash and darken like some kind of futuristic electric storm. She needs someone who is not always intellectualizing everything to get her to settle down, if you know what I mean.

My other "friend" is Peter Kim. He is a fucking chump, but I guess he is "loyal." Mostly he is there so that D can have someone stupid to boss around so she feels like she is in control.

I got D to research this pottery shard or something for my social studies project. Peter wastes all his time on the Internet, looking at cat pictures and shit, so I let him think he was our "computer expert." And suddenly we were kicked out of school!!! Here is an actual quote from the book to show what happened:

"Fine, continue to play your game then," the headmaster replies icily. "But we have proof that you stole the shard you are using for your Forgotten People's Project in Ms. Drenton's class."
"We didn't ste..." Xerxes begins, but Mr. Cummings interrupts him...
Peter tries to speak, but nothing but a wet gurgling comes out of his mouth. Xerxes can tell he is mad. "Wh...wh..whhaat, what are you saying?!" he finaly manages to yell. "We haven't done anything. How dare you scare Dresdale and us like that! She is the best student this stupid school has!" (Golden Path, Volume 1, p. 8-9)

Dresdale was going to blow her top. Stupidly, Peter picked this time to try to single her out and "protect" her in front of the administrators in order to hide that he was a fag. Like we didn't know about his "special" relationship with one of the teachers, Alphonse Rimy. On page 16, I was all like, "How did Rimy know that you have a car anyway? I thought Dresdale and I were the only ones who knew." And Peter was all, "Like I said, we talked about a lot of things," trying to sound important. I feel sorry for whoever has to be intimately involved with Peter.

I calm down Dresdale and we all go to my house and then my parents are gone and my mom's dog is dead!!! That is really fucked up to kill someone's dog. It is so dramatic and strange, in a morbid way: suddenly my life has transformed from good to bad. My friends stand aside, awed. Knowing me is the most important thing in their fucking lives.

Then comes one of those moments in your life, when you're not just drifting along on the currents of necessity. You have to make a choice. The Golden Path, Volume 1 is powerful because it depicts (roughly) two such moments per "path" that I choose, and I could tell that this was the first one.

My mom was caring and not a dumb bitch like SOME people's moms, and she told me what to do in an email. Most moms don't even know how to use the Internet! She said I should go to Carlsbad or something. Then some important financial dude called me on the phone and said I should go to New York! Well to be honest both options were tempting. Where did I go? Did I follow the lure of family, or money? I can bet you that, whichever choice I made, my friends tagged along.

Did Dresdale finally stop being such an ice bitch and realize that her destiny is with me?

But seriously you will have to find out for yourself what I did. The Golden Path, Volume 1: Into the Hollow Earth, as well as subsequent volumes of the Golden Path series, are set to hit bookstores May 19th1. You can be sure that I WILL be there, ready to live out/write the next installment of my literary adventure.

1 Chooseco, you've disappointed us before, saying the books were going to be out at the end of April! You owe us an explanation.


Posted by xerxes on Wed, 14 May 2008 13:30:43 -0400 -- permanent link

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