Sacramento Press reviews Anthony Swofford's New Memoir

Trina Drotar of the Sacramento Press reviews Anthony Swofford's newest book, a memoir entitled Hotels, Hospitals and Jails.

In this memoir, Swofford, an Iowa Writers' Workshop alumni and acclaimed author of Jarhead, focuses on the effects of fame. The popularity of his first memoir and the film rights to Jarhead  allowed Swofford to take trips around the world and find a string of lovers in different cities. In the memoir, Swofford discusses flying women to London, Tokyo, or Oakland for dinner, buying and losing a home and sports car and traveling across the country with his father in a Winnebago.

Drotar explains that Swofford's book is "not for everyone." There is much discussion of sex, loss, and the meaning of  fatherhood. In direct, at times difficult style, Swofford's tell-all illustrates the many mistakes (wrecking his BMW sports car, lying to lovers, infidelities in hotels around the world) and the heartbreaking consequences (watching his older brother die, picking up his father after he collapsed).

The locations in the title, according to Swofford, exist in the world, but they also hold personal significance: "There are…the hotels, hospitals, and jails in my mind, where I spent a lot of time in my thirties while I tried to figure my life out. Sometimes I escaped, sometimes I was sick, and sometimes I was incarcerated, but eventually I found a way out."

Anthony Swofford graduated with a B.A. in English from UC Davis and completed an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His first memoir, Jarhead was released in 2003.


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