Review: I Love Dick

I Love Dick - Chris Kraus, Joan Hawkins, Eileen Myles

A friend who is a sociology teacher asked me to read this book and give her feedback. She's thinking about teaching it in a class next semester. I have no idea what class she's teaching or why it has to be this book, but I'm certain of one thing--this book will get people talking. The title alone will accomplish that much.


I Love Dick is not so much a story as it is a journey for a bored-of-married-life filmmaker who falls for, or thinks she falls for, one of her husband's colleagues, the titular Dick. The filmmaker sets out to seduce Dick with the help of her husband, who is open-minded and consenting enough to help. Dick, however, is not interested and the connection goes nowhere. The filmmaker's husband doesn't want to see his wife disappointed, so he takes on the role of Dick and the two of them carry on a role-playing correspondence where the husband pretends to be Dick and then pretends to carry on an affair with the filmmaker as Dick. Then, a lot of other things happen to blur the line between fact and fiction and makes you question whether or not these things are actually happening, or maybe they're a product of a mind on the verge of a breakdown.


This is a true story, "true" in the sense that a sequence of events similar to the narrative actually happened but probably not in that exact order or not to the extent exaggerated in the text. This book is comprised of letters, journal entries, essays, and annotations that attempt to piece together what exactly the filmmaker is looking for when she attaches herself to the idea of being with Dick, a man she barely knows but is convinced she's in love with.


This chase for Dick is an attempt to avoid life-altering complications, like a marriage possibly falling a part or a film career going nowhere or repressed psychological issues, but these problems don't get addressed directly and are pushed aside as the filmmaker and her husband get caught up in this "Dick project."


I'm not certain Chris Kraus finds whatever she's looking for in the end, but she is convinced she has. This book is one of those that you can discuss forever without making any headway, and it might even lead to a few screaming matches. And that is precisely why I think it will be perfect for a sociology class, even better if it's for Intro. to Sociology.


If this is your response to this review

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then there's no need to read the book, which I doubt anyone would on his/her own.