Too Beautiful To Live originally broadcasted on KIRO Radio in Washington, but got pulled and was re-purposed as a podcast. The programming is often a mix of the host’s interests (Luke guests on Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me!), what’s going on Seattle, some current events (although the current events can range from pop news to politics), and various intriguing guests. One show, Luke had a conversation with Davy Rothbart, founder of Found magazine and contributor to This American Life, and they discussed his newly released book My Heart is an Idiot.
Davy Rothbart has had a wild ride, and his heart really is an idiot. But he has a very big, idiotic heart. Rothbart binds this collection of essays together with the lovable sense of humor and disappointment. He has awoken naked in New York City and has found a dead body in a swimming pool after cheating on his girlfriend. He’s killed elk roadkill off of the road. He ridden in a burning hot, lifted car with a 100+-year-old man, his great-great granddaughter, her ex-son-in-law and his pregnant girlfriend, a Canadian car thief, and a Chinese family on Valentine’s Day. And amidst these adventures, Rothbart falls hopelessly and terribly in love.
He falls in love with the young woman he meets on the bus to New York City after 9/11. He falls in love with a “woman” over the phone in a hotel room. He falls in love with a Vietnam veteran. My Heart is an Idiot is necessary about romantic love, but the love relationships that we find ourselves in. Of course the book is peppered with the failed trappings of Rothbart’s love life, but the most beautiful stories are the ones where he is not in pursuit of a woman. The most beautiful are the ones where he falls in love with moments, places and humanity. Rothbart lives with a big, open heart.
The strongest stories for me were The Human Snowball, New York, New York, and How I Got These Boots. But really, it doesn’t matter whether you read one or all of Rothbart’s essays. He knows how to balance a story with humor, emotions, and purpose. Rothbart is a tremendous storyteller whose stories will linger in your brain for years to come.
Still not convinced? Here is the book trailer.
Thumbs: 2 out of 2.