Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What I've Been Reading

Thrown by Kerry Howley


I never, ever thought I would care about Mixed Martial Arts fighting (cage fighting if you need a visual) let alone read an entire book about it. It's violent, and dangerous, and just so stupid. But then I found this book; a world-expanding and wonderfully weird read about philosophy and obsession, failure and hope, and yes--cage fighting.

While bored out of her mind at a writing conference Kerry Howley decides to follow a group of men who lead her to a makeshift fighting octagon at the very same conference hotel. It is here she witnesses her first MMA fight and undergoes a transcendent experience that she doesn't understand, but longs to replicate. That night she also meets one to the two fighters she will follow over the course of the next three years. Inserting herself into their lives as a "space taker," Howley chases that unexplained, otherworldly feeling while her fighters chase dreams of glory, fame, and brotherhood.

Part of me is pretty sure I'm so enthralled with Kerry and her fighters due to my current obsession with any story where the protagonist suddenly does something they never thought they would, or could, or should--all the while ignoring whatever choices that societal norms, and personal expectations, and expensive educations suggest they should make.

Regardless, this book is wild. I learned more about MMA and phenomenology than I ever thought I wanted to (not that I actually ever thought about those things or knew what they were until now). It's absurd, and smart, and sad. In a word--captivating.