Richard Yates by Tao Lin
Emoji summary: 💉🏆🍣
hello angels I am on the train to Edinburgh and i have my laptop on my knees, it’s on 20%. i had a sainsbury's croissant while i was waiting in the station, and it was really flattened like it had come undone and was its ingredients again. but I really liked that?
it is june 1st today. I’m 23 on the 23rd which means it’s my golden birthday n
I have been reading one book a month this year. in May I read Tao Lin’s Richard Yates. I didn’t know who Richard Yates was but I gathered from the book he is an author. * The story centres on two characters who are also IRL people: Dakota Fanning and Hayley Joel Osment. Dakota Fanning is in loads of stuff, i googled and Hayley Joel Osment is also an actor and was actually Forrest Gump’s son - but I don’t need to know. Like when guest judges come on screen towards the end of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and you don’t recognise them but american people might/ it’s embedded in a way it’s ok.
I feel like this review should be in italics
In the book the characters are in stressed-love, learning each other, upset / some urgency, some dependency. there is a bit of an age difference, and it matters because Dakota Fanning is only 17 n he’s like, 26 or something. the two try to eat clean, they go to Whole Foods all the time, they steal things n travel towards and away from each other on long trains across America. Hayley Joel Osment is trying to make it as a writer n keeps going out to do readings.
Richard Yates is written like how a kid tells you a story: And Then she picked me up And Then I dropped the ball But Then we were hungry So I had food And the food we had was nice And it was fruit And - etc. on and on.
Dakota Fanning and Hayley Joel Osment are referred to by their full names in every single instance, no she's or he’s. their names fold under themselves: : that kid storytelling style is enforced and makes the book a strict experience. the book is not chaptered. the toddler is pulling at your hair and making you pay attention to its streaming tale. u are not allowed to look at your phone, u have to make eye contact the entire time or the kid is going to start his story from the beginning.
the book is very chipped nail varnish and like, genuinely edgey bc of this style i feel.
the kind of book u read in a bath without bubble bath or a bath bomb, just hot water.
its style is blatant in the way the free the nipple movement wanted to be. its funny
and I think with Tao Lin I’ve found the books I should be reading - bc they are books that know the pace n 24 hour news cycle of love now, of how it exists across sheets n texts n messenger, and in diets and games; of how a relationship can make you feel like characters in a book or a film.
i read it at the right time. a major part of Hayley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning’s dynamic is in Hayley Joel Osment constantly looking down at Dakota Fanning as an undeveloped silly girl. he wants her to get her shit together and b introspective and have discipline which is hard bc she is literally just young. it feels like he cares less about her tru spirit and more about commandeering a training sequence in which she learns 2 become his specific and tailored equal. problemos that really put into perspective how supportive my own relationship is t b h. if we ever have a disagreement or misunderstanding, whatever the issue is, my boyfriend is magic n articulate and powers through it - - - but it always takes me a while longer to understand and reset. Sometimes that makes me feel very young and i *am* 22 and he *is* 31, so i get worried that I am being Dakota Fanning and i get suspicious and i feel like an owl watching for signs he might be Hayley Joel Osment, but -
the day before I finished reading the book in my soapless bath, he actually messaged me about my emotional lag to say
‘the other day i was thinking about it like those men who run gold through sieves to see if its real in rivers in america in the past. you’re being dead careful and sorting the pebbles and the fools gold from the real gold and putting it in little piles. and i’m going YEP, NAH, YEP, NAH and either lashing stuff over my shoulder or in my rucksack. i know thats a weird and dumb analogy but yeah its just like im some grizzled old cowboy who’s been doing it for ages, and you’re still to some extent discovering the experience.’
Richard Yates was like a distant allegory 4 me. i held it at arms length and felt my own love instead. it is important to help people but it has to be true. thank you tao lin for a good book. xxx
you can buy it on amazon here