by Dan Savage
on Tue, May 28, 2013 at 6:30 AM
And Chandler Burr gave it a strongly positive review—my publisher says the review qualifies as a rave—in yesterday's Washington Post:
In “American Savage,” there’s a telling passage on monogamy. Dan Savage, who has written the sex advice column “Savage Love” for more than 20 years, states, “My husband Terry and I are mostly monogamous... There are times—certain set and limited circumstances—when it is permissible for us to have sex with others.” That’s representative of Savage’s frankness—startling, disarming, suicidal or courageous, depending on your perspective. I’m not aware of anyone with his degree of public presence who so frankly, even cheerfully, offers a contrary view to apple-pie norms. Unsurprisingly, Savage has a reputation as a bomb thrower. “American Savage” shows why that perception is suprisingly misleading.
Savage is aware of his rep. And he has a ball with it. He quotes Fox News host Mike Huckabee describing him as “unnecessarily rude, vile, and angry.” Then he merrily replies: “Have you seen my husband in a Speedo. . . ? Rest assured that I’m a happy person, Mike.” And he rips gleefully through the hypocrisy of condemning gay people by selectively quoting the Bible.
But these pyrotechnics are actually where “American Savage” is least interesting. We’ve heard the traded insults before. And if you’ve already read multiple times about how the Bible has been used to justify every possible position on every subject, it’s not much different in Savage style. “American Savage” is best when it is most unusual, an extraordinarily personal, deeply felt book about traditional marriage, authentic and healthy religion and a traditional sex life.
I'm speaking at the New York Public Library tonight—in conversation with Andrew Sullivan—and in Seattle at Town Hall on June 16. Ari Shapiro is coming to town for the Seattle event. Info here and tickets here.