montreal performance queen Alexis O'Hara gave birth to her prose -- part punk rock song and part feminist call to arms -- amidst the strung-out glam of the city's nightlife. Many of the pieces in (more than) Filthy Lies are meant to be performed aloud, so less attention is paid to grammar than to building an impact from rhyming words and twisting phrases that double back on themselves and lure the reader into the author's mind-space.
O'Hara revels in her ability to be bitchy on one page, outrageously sexy on another and verging on insane the next time you pick up the book. Autobiographical elements are not hidden behind fiction. She's all about you and me -- laughing, screaming, hating, crying and falling in love.
Once in a while, the writing slips into a kind of defensiveness, making it read like an earnest girl's manifesto rather than stylized prose. Like a lot of self-published work, it could use a good, tight edit.
But the honesty is also refreshing. O'Hara takes risks. She reveals her pain. She duels with common misperceptions and complicated issues like date rape and alcoholism. She faces up to her mistakes and imperfections.
While most of the book's in English, O'Hara flips in and out of French when it suits her, giving the reader the feeling that she's walking around Montreal randomly engaging with shopkeepers and wait staff in two languages.
The book is also filled with cool drawings, instructional diagrams and photos of O'Hara's manic performances around town.
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(more than) Filthy Lies by Alexis O'Hara (Spaghetti Dance), $12 paper. Rating: NNN