Summary and book reviews of Chicken by David Henry Sterry

Chicken

Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent

by David Henry Sterry

Chicken
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2002, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2003, 256 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

The funny, touching story of a sweet, wide-eyed son of Seventies Suburbia who spends a year as a teenage sex worker servicing rich, lonely women in Beverly Hills. A gripping story that explores what it means to suffer through the underbelly of the American Dream. And make it out alive.

The funny, touching story of a sweet, wide-eyed son of Seventies Suburbia who spends a year as a teenage sex worker servicing rich, lonely women in Beverly Hills. After being raped his first night in Hollywood, David meets Sunny, the manager of Hollywood Fried Chicken, who teaches him all about chicken: how to fry one, and how to be one.

But the wild adventures and the mad money are never enough, as he's sucked into the seedy seamy underside of Hollywood: the blank-eyed women, the Fall-of-Rome orgies, and the drugs. With a mix of breathtaking honesty, sly comedy, genuine tenderness, and a wide-eyed fascination for the characters and bizarre world he enters, Sterry creates a narrative that is fresh, smart, and unexpectedly uplifting.

Chicken is a book like no other--a playful, gripping story that explores what it means to suffer through the underbelly of the American Dream. And make it out alive.

Chapter 1
The Tall Sexy Man & The Nun

'Children begin by loving their parents, after a time they judge them, rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.'

- Oscar Wilde

I wasn't molested as a child. No one beat me with a coathanger. I was never burned by my evil babysitter's cigarette. I grew up in neighborhoods where kids played ball, swang on swings, and rode merry-go-rounds. Santa slid down my chimney, the Easter Bunny hid chocolate eggs in my yard, and the Tooth Fairy left a quarter under my pillow.

A rosy patina of relentless suburban niceness shimmers on the surface of my childhood: roses swimming gently in beds, summery smelling freshly mown grass moaning, golden leaves falling like floating autumnal coins; the taste of cold waterymelon and the lick of a soft cloud of ice cream cone; toboggans and hot chocolate; Fourth of July fireworks and Tom Turkey Thanksgivings; Cream of Wheat mornings and Cat in the Hat nights.

You were happy where I grew up, and if ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

Sterry writes with comic brio…[he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.

Author Blurb Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
Alternately sexy and terrifying, hysterical and weird, David Henry Sterry's Chicken is a hot walk on the wild side of Hollywood's fleshy underbelly. With lush prose and a flawless ear for the rhythms of the street, Sterry lays out a life lived on the edge in a coming-of-age classic that's colorful, riveting, and strangely beautiful. David Henry Sterry is the real thing.

Author Blurb Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body
Compulsively readable, visceral, and very funny. The author, a winningly honest companion, has taken us right into his head, moment-by-moment rarely has the mentality of sex been so scrupulously observed and reproduced on paper. Granted, he had some amazingly bizarre experiences to draw upon; but as V. S. Pritchett observed, in memoirs you get no pints for living, the art is all that counts--and David Henry Sterry clearly possesses the storyteller's art.

Author Blurb Larry Mantle, Air Talk, National Public Radio
Insightful and funny… great stories… captures Hollywood beautifully…

Author Blurb Alger Batts, filmmaker
I just wanted to tell you how incredible your book, it's like a Kerouac Chicken. I loved it so much, I HAD to read it in one sitting. I can't wait for the next book.

Reader Reviews

NightWing
Does anyone remeber this movie from 15 years ago. Patrick Dempsey played a pizza delivery guy. It was called loverboy.
This is such a blatent ripoff I am amazed they did'nt have the guts to call the book LOVERBOY. Rent the movie. Read the
book. you ...   Read More

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