M. P. Johnson
Publisher: Lazy Fascist press
Pub. Date: September 17, 2017
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Danielle is obsessed with her nails. The acrylic, long, glorious, impractical kind. They become a symbol of her life and needs, a small allowance of the coming out she is not able to thoroughly do at this time. Many of her fears are real and as she chronicles her weekend she expresses and illustrate those fears. But there is always a want for acceptance and where she goes for that acceptance in the final pages may both shock and enlighten some of the readers. It becomes a moment of tearful sadness but also a small bit of hope.
Nails is presented as fiction but if it is, it is very likely autobiographical fiction, at the very least in the emotions and longings presented by the author if not the actual events. Beautiful and revealing writing like this can not stream from just the imagination. It takes a skillful acknowledged writer to present it and that is exactly what M. P. Johnson is and does. There is a scene in the middle of this too short work where she is at The House of Blues attending a show by The Damned when a young man comes up to her. It is a moment of mixed emotions for Danielle who is not sure whether the boy is simply fooled or accepting her for what she is. His advances are subtly and ultimately refused. Whatever possibilities existed disappears due to the power of that fear and doubt this book is so much about. For me, it was the most powerful moment in the book.
Books like this do not come around often. M. P. Johnson is known mostly for her bizarro fantasy novels but this is straight down to earth reality. It speaks not only of the want for other's acceptance but one's own acceptance of what they are and the reality that gender is not as necessarily defined as we think it is. Nails is way too short. M. P. Johnson clearly has much more to say and I believe she has a autobiographical novel or even a non-fiction work in her that will amaze us even more. Until then we have this brief revelation of a novella and it is one that I would deem essential reading for 2017.