NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Poetry
  • by: Megan Boyle
  • Date Published: November 2011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982206720
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96pp
  • Price: $12.00
  • Review by: Aimee Nicole

selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee is a collection of unpublished blog entries that teeters between poetry and prose writing. Rarely do I come across writing that can pass as both styles, which is interesting. There are no capital letters in the entire book, which adds to the informal tone. Assuming the collection is autobiographical (as it stems from blog posts), Boyle is a 23-year-old bi-curious stoner who records her life. It is one of the most honest pieces I have ever read; she even lists every single person she has had sex with, never leaving out minor details such as whether or not they used condoms and if she had orgasms. After describing each of her 21 partners, Boyle enters a brief moment of self-reflection: “relieved I don’t have AIDS or children.”

Although the title of the book lists Boyle’s line of work, there are no details, explanations, or ventures into her working life besides a few references to coworkers. I found this slightly disappointing as I was rather intrigued to read about her experiences at work. There are no page numbers and the only numbering system appears to be the dates the blog posts were written. 1.13.09 gives us a list of many things that Boyle wants:

     i want to make eye contact with a stranger and say ‘fuck’ in a way that makes them feel like i’ve caught them doing something shameful
     i want my legs to be 50 feet long and i want to step on things and say ‘oops’ very sarcastically
     i want to interrupt a game of magic the gathering by busting through a wall on a motorcycle
     i want to delete everything from someone’s computer except a giant microsoft paint picture of a dick that takes forever to load

Each thought introduces us to another part of who Boyle is. As a reader, you often get to know a censored version of characters; you learn the dimensions and details of a character that are essential to the story. In Boyle’s book, you get to learn an almost infinite amount of details about her life that are insignificant yet essential at the same time.

There are rarely titles to the entries in addition to dates. One that interested me was called “i am kind of a disgusting person.” I almost didn’t want to continue reading, but my curiosity was piqued and I read on:

i do not to dishes for a long time
shrimp and green peppers are shriveling in my refrigerator
i do not clean my cats’ food dishes regularly
they do not seem to mind
after lying in bed for awhile i like to smell under the covers
if i see food in the trash that looks okay i’ll eat it
i eat old food
i haven’t cleaned my toilet yet and i have lived here for four months
i pick my nose in traffic and wipe it on the floor

There is no importance or complexity to Boyle’s writing. She is simply recording her life as she sees it and sharing all of her intimate experiences and details with the readers. She admits that even her dad sent her a note mentioning that he has just read about all the people she had sex with. Yet Boyle never seems ashamed or apologetic for her honesty. The reader can either take it or leave it. I won’t lie, sometimes I was disturbed by what I was reading; however, I appreciate that she shared her life with me, and I respect her honesty.

Her last blog entry is lies she has told. During a previous entry, Boyle admitted to masturbating when she was eight years old; it was even brought up at a parent-teacher conference because apparently, she wasn’t being very secretive. I found the following lie very amusing:

‘i’m itching my belly button’
i masturbated a lot as a kid. this was what i would tell my parents i was doing when they would try to talk to me about it. i remember seeing them look at each other with concerned, yet amused faces.

Boyle kept me interested throughout the book. I’m not sure I ever became very attached to her “character,” but I remained intrigued and read through the entire book in one sitting. She has had an interesting life thus far, and her honest revelation of her experiences was impressive. By refusing to gloss over any of those intimate, sometimes inconsequential bits of her life, she highlights the concept that these idiosyncratic details are in fact what make us all unique.

Return to List.
Review Posted on February 01, 2012 Last modified on February 01, 2012
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.