In this poetic, introspective memoir, Kenny Fries illustrates his intersecting identities as gay, Jewish, and disabled. While learning about the history of his body through medical records and his physical scars, Fries discovers just how deeply the memories and psychic scars run. As he reflects on his relationships with his family, his compassionate doctor, the brother who resented his disability, and the men who taught him to love, he confronts the challenges of his life. Body, Remember is a story about connection, a redemptive and passionate testimony to one man’s search for the sources of identity and difference.
Fries is a 36-year-old Massachusetts poet and playwright, very much concerned with identity, and as a disabled person, gay and Jewish, he uses this memoir to locate himself. He was born with an unnamed defect that left his legs and feet deformed, and his disability commands most of his attention. He takes an appropriately complex view of his search for himself, calling into question through his own experiences the notion of gay identity when it does not seem to include the disabled, and, on a trip to Israel, the notion of Jewishness when it does not allow for homosexuality. Fries comes to no conclusions about his triple personas, or about the primacy of any one of them, though he does achieve some equanimity, and the end of the book finds him in the middle of his third long-term relationship, yet becoming less and less able-bodied with age. Fries's story is unusual, but his telling of it is clouded by a lack of perspective. (Jan.)