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Diary Of A Sex Addict

by Christopher Verleger
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Wednesday Oct 24, 2012
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Scott Alexander Hess’s shocking, engrossing debut novel, "Diary of a Sex Addict," chronicles a month in the life of a lonely 38-year-old gay man from New York City who tries to fill the many voids in his life with anonymous sexual encounters.

The orphaned, nameless narrator of this disturbing yet gripping storyline works a mindless, dead end job at a women’s shelter, has no family other than his demented Auntie Flora, and cannot seem to get over his ex, Ben, who he willingly chose to leave. Consumed by suicidal thoughts, the journal’s author spends every night arranging countless hookups on Grindr and Manhunt, addicted to the temporary euphoria resulting from these trysts.

Hess’s brutally honest depiction of this soulless individual who has essentially given up on finding a purpose in life makes for captivating reading, and his prose manages to both entice and horrify, because there is something undeniably alluring about this character’s malice and recklessness.

The narrator shows some promise of humanity and potential escape from his downward spiral when he poses for a photographer with the screen name Swan Man. When the two first meet, he becomes so intrigued with Swan Man’s supposed choice of celibacy that he decides to try it himself. With all this newfound free time formerly spent meeting strangers for sex, his travels take him to a church confessional and a support group meeting for sexual compulsives. Most significantly, he even revisits his diary entries during his time with Ben, but these attempts to avoid his oft-referenced ’black hole’ seem to be in vain.

Although labeled as a work of fiction, "Diary" is rife with such lurid yet provocative, painstaking detail that I found myself wondering if the novel’s many recounted episodes of intense and occasionally violent man play are based on actual events or experiences. Hess brings this sad, lost man’s mindset and predicament to life in a way that is both explicit and poetic. Whether his words and thoughts make you wince or salivate, you will be hard pressed to put the book down.

"Diary of a Sex Addict"
Scott Alexander Hess
JMS Books
$13.50

by Scott Alexander Hess

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.

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