My Life with Blondie
Cervena Barva Press
by Jiri Klobouk
reviewed by Mick Mykola Dementiuk
Hey, drop everything Blondie is coming to town! That’s how Jiri Klobouk, author of My Date with Blondie, begins his comic/tragic novel about Harley Davidson, who has a thirty-three year love-infatuation with Blondie, singer/movie star and lover of his dreams, or so he thinks. Even though they’ve never met Harley now has the chance to finally come face to face with his idol, and he imagines settling down with her for the rest of their lives. But does Harley really stand a chance? And how much of this fantasy is real?
Harley Davidson, yes, that’s his name, is a man in his fifties who has had this infatuation since his teens. Since his early days in Vienna when he first saw her picture in a movie magazine, holding onto the memory through war torn Vietnam, on to Germany where he got married (for the second time), into Portugal where Blondie lived her young years, and now eking out his life but always with the dream and vision of Blondie. Oh boy is he eager and ready for her! Even Harley’s current long time girlfriend Amanda, so he tells us, is just as eager to meet her. Still, Harley claims Amanda is upset because she lost her kitten Tiger and not because Blondie is so close nearby. Well, maybe…
Harley is able to get his old job back at the Royal Arms Hotel, which he calls an old four story flop house but which Blondie is sure to visit, and in between Harley is faced with the daily problems of working in the hotel with his supervisors and fellow employees, who seem to have stepped out of a loony bin.
McCarthy, owner of the hotel, comes back from Brazil and has the handyman Melvin, who cares for the hotel, build a Brazilian rain forest in the owner’s fourth floor room. Besides the gay hotel person Jacques and the chambermaid Ella the entire staff is there. And how they run the hotel, what a farce!
Going back in time Harley was eighteen in Vienna when he got married to Ilona, an older girl whose parents had been tortured and killed by the Hungarians. Harley doesn’t care for her since he already is dreaming and waiting to meet Blondie, who he is certain he will get married to but instead he agrees with her offer of a proposal. They get married, or as another character says, Harley has a screw loose from the Vietnam War. And an old war buddy also asks, “(I)t could be a sign of some kind of mental disorder. Have you ever thought about that?”
Harley was conceived on a Harley Davidson motorcycle as his parents went tearing around Europe at the time when the Jews were being butchered by the Nazis. And Harley finds out from an old librarian his parents were bank robbers desperate to get away from the Nazis. Harley’s life is just as messed up and confused as is the stigma he lives under, being in love with that vague chimera he has never met, Blondie.
Still, he gets married to Ilona but after five years he separates from her and marries Helga in Frankfurt, Germany, a singer who is also a little nymphet escorted by her Canadian parents. But after they have a kid Harley leaves her but she quickly gets married to another man.
For years Harley and his now-girlfriend Amanda have been seeing a psychiatrist, and Harley has high hopes for some kind of cure, but after falling in ‘love’ with Amanda it’s clear that she is as whacky as he is, apparently a bit of a nutcase, as one character says about him. Still they make a perfect couple except that he’s in love with the mystical Blondie, his stigma from the past.
This is a sad/funny, moving novel. You can’t help but think about the guys you see wandering around town, living out their lives in menial jobs, with menial relationships, that is if they have any, and just existing from day to day. Well, I suppose they do have someone to love, for better or for worse. But where is their Blondie? Is she the one that away? I hope Harley finds her in his lunacy, and with a little something thrown in just to make life a tiny bit interesting, much like in the spit and vomit of this beautiful, fantastic happy novel. Hip hip hooray! Here’s to Harley, dream on!
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Lambda Literary Awards Winner 2013/Gay Erotica, 2009/Bisexual Fiction