Entertainment » Books

My Life As A Goddess

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Aug 9, 2018
My Life As A Goddess

Gay men are experts at pretending and often not by choice. Guy Branum, author of the hilarious, heartbreaking and brutally honest memoir, "My Life as a Goddess," reminds readers that there's a beautiful view at the mountaintop of the uphill battle known as life, and in order to get there, you just have to convince yourself that you're invincible.

Branum is a stand-up comedian whose lengthy resume includes appearances on "Chelsea Lately," writing for "The Mindy Project," and the current host of "Talk Show the Game Show" on truTV. I wasn't familiar with him or his work before reading "Goddess," but one doesn't need to be an avid fan to appreciate, and more importantly, admire his colorful, complicated adventure from Yuba City farm town boy to Hollywood pop culture pundit.

As he paints an intimate portrait of his personal life, including family relationships and coming out, as well as his career path influences like Chelsea Handler, Joan Rivers and Mindy Kaling, his essays are interspersed with in-depth analysis of select television shows, movies and songs that either directly or loosely reference the subject at hand.

For example, he calls attention to "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Bewitched" as particular favorites of his youth because they allowed him to believe there was a bigger, better world outside of his own, while poking fun at "Sesame Street" for its false representation of farm animals as loyal and affectionate creatures.

Branum identifies the significance of such films as the "The Graduate," illustrating that Mrs. Robinson is arguably more victim than villain, and "My Best Friend's Wedding" for its spot-on portrayal of the gay best friend who acknowledges and embraces how stereotypically branded he is by his heterosexual counterparts.

He waxes philosophically -- without being preachy or too catty -- about his weight (his commentary on Kate from "This Is Us" is remarkably insightful), being gay (he thinks the club scene gets a bad rap and does everything in his power to convince you what Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is really about), and living in Los Angeles (using "Entourage" and "The Comeback" as scale model examples of fantasy and reality).

"My Life as a Goddess" isn't a how-to book and the author doesn't ever profess that his way is the right way. In fact, his mistakes -- student government, law school -- are equally entertaining and informative. A good comic can make you laugh and learn, and Branum's memoir is a profound example that accomplishes both.

"My Life as a Goddess"
By Guy Branum
Atria Books
$26.00

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.


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