5/5 Substitute Dr Dre for Charlie Parker, and Davy Rothbart’s new collection of 16 essays – the brilliantly titled My Heart Is an Idiot – reads like early Jack Kerouac. The FOUND Magazine creator is looking for love in all the wrong places, as he hitchhikes, sleeps on couches, dreams of becoming a writer and romanticises everything in sight.
In ‘Human Snowball’, the author takes a bus trip to surprise a would-be girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, only to become entangled in a stranger-than-fiction odyssey that includes a car thief, a 110-year-old man and a Chinese family. ‘Shade’ reveals an obsession with Fairuza Balk’s character in indie pic Gas Food Lodging, and the comically sad litany of relationships that this devotion has sabotaged.
Though the bulk of Rothbart’s pieces are intoxicatingly quick and funny, a pair of essays add some weight to the collection. One of the two, ‘New York, New York’, is a powerful and unpretentious post-9/11 remembrance that includes the memorable first-hand stories of nearly everyone he meets on a winding bus trip to the city. Josh Davis