Book Review – Allen Long’s “Less Than Human” by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
Allen Long’s writing style is unique in that in draws the reader in, tells of sadness experienced by the author, but has an undertone of triumph and joy. Even as you read the chapters outlining Long’s abuse at the hands of his parents, you still know there will be a triumphant ending. I enjoyed this memoir much more than most memoirs telling of abuse. This was a quick read and the pace of the book is excellent. I had no idea what to expect next.
Each individual story is told with such imagery it’s as if the author himself is having a glass of scotch and reminiscing with a kindred soul or old friend. I feel as if Allen and Elizabeth are friends I would enjoy having over for a dinner party. I also am reconsidering how I ask for “mom time” as I hope there’s no “Linda” creeping into our lives. (you’ll have to read Less Than Human for yourself if you want more details about that…).
Thank you Allen Long for sharing your life with readers. Less Than Human is well written, well edited, and I certainly enjoyed the short glimpses into your interesting life. The triumphant tone of the book really speaks volume about your resilient character.
Official Book Blurb: In Less than Human, Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than... he is, indeed... human. Less than Human follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, creates its own form of suspense-in what direction will this book take us next?
• Paperback: 120 pages
• Publisher: Black Rose Writing; First Printing ed. edition (January 14, 2016)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1612966381
• ISBN-13: 978-1612966380
About the Author: Allen Long was born in New York City and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in fiction writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Arizona. He has been an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine since 2007, and his fiction and memoirs have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines. He lives with his wife near San Francisco.