Meet Junior. He does not know how to write a book. (Except -- maybe -- for this one.) His therapist says he has issues with closure. (Granted, this book has seven endings.) This is not a novel. (Everything in it is entirely true -- except for the large portions that are completely fictional.) And finally, Junior has no issues with his father. (Nope, really, not a single one.)
In a dizzying kaleidoscope of words and images, Macaulay Culkin takes readers on a twisted tour to the darkest corners of his fertile imagination. Part memoir, part rant, part comedic tour de force, Junior is full of the hard-won wisdom of Culkin's quest to come to terms with the awesome pressures of childhood mega-stardom and family dysfunction. Searingly honest, brain-teasingly inventive, Junior is breathtaking proof that Culkin has found his own utterly original voice.
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Read an Excerpt
By Macaulay Culkin
HYPERIONCopyright © 2005 Macaulay Culkin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE END.
the end of me.
EXCERPTS FROM MY UNFINISHED MEMOIR TITLED THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MONKEY-MONKEY BOY
As I sit down and begin to write what could be called my life story, I would like to remind the reader that many of the things that happened to me in my life, or at least those found interesting enough to write about, happened to me at a very early age. So if I don't have my stories straight, or if I indulge the facts, or freely jump forwards and backwards in time, don't be taken off-guard. My life as I know it and my life as you knew it are two totally different things.
... my only solace comes from the fact that by the time anyone reads this most of the people involved will probably be dead.
... and that's when the staring began. I remember quite clearly when it first started. I was on leave from the circus and spending time with my brothers. We were sitting in a room somewhere in Florida playing video games when something caught my eye. In the window, a face. It quickly bobbed out of sight. I thought nothing of it and continued playing. But it came again and this time it was unmistakable. It wasn't just one face, it wasthree. Three kids my age standing at our window. I caught the first glimpse of the look on their faces that I have now grown to recognize. Their eyes in a daze and jaws open in typical comic-book fashion, they ducked out of sight and ran and laughed with excitement. By the time my brothers and I dropped our controllers and got to the window to see what had happened, the kids were on their bikes riding away from us as fast as they could.
Then it clicked. I knew those kids. I had seen them before, around the neighborhood. I didn't know their names but I knew them. We had mutual friends. We used to be the same.
From that point on I knew everything was going to be different. There was a different set of rules that applied to me.
"CLUCK! CLUCK!" They yelled at the top of their lungs. The entire group of photographers, three or four deep, chanted this as I made my way through the press line of my newest circus act in New York. I knew what they wanted because I had given it to them so many times before that I lost count (not that I was counting). I could barely make out what they were saying under the sea of voices.
"Hey, hey Monkey Boy! Look over here," I heard from one of the desperate ones in the back.
"Yo Monkey Boy, do that thing you do. Do that clucking like a chicken thing," said another.
But in the front there seemed to be one photographer in particular who I thought was high on speed or just plain crazy. He kept on yelling "CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK!" until his voice became raspy and hoarse. His face was so red I thought it was going to explode.
I had been to dozens of my own premieres before. It was supposed to be old hat by then, but there was something wrong that night, something in the air. Then suddenly everything began to spin and it became increasingly hard to breathe. They were yelling so loud I couldn't even think. The flashes from the cameras were so bright I couldn't even see.
In a moment like that, when you're thirteen years old, you're not thinking "I'm having a panic attack"; your instinct is to flee. Run, get out of there as soon as you can before a hole opens up beneath your feet and the world swallows you up. So I did what my gut was telling me to do: I ran. No matter what people were going to think, no matter how unprofessional it was, I didn't care. I had to get out of there at that very moment.
The crowd's reaction was less than sympathetic, to say the least. The moment I reached the lobby of the theatre, before I could catch my breath, a chorus of boos and jeers could be heard from outside. The photographers were obviously not happy with my swift and abrupt exit and were letting the rest of the world know about it. I didn't care about them. My thoughts were all about self-preservation, not my career or the career of some lowly paparazzo.
Then it hit me like a wave: shame. I began to scan the crowd and noticed a couple of friendly faces, people whom I had invited to my big night. Family, friends, everyone was listening to the wave of boos coming from outside my own premiere. How could I let that happen? How could they do that in front of everyone on my night?
Just then I got a tap on the shoulder. It was a young woman from the publicity department of the New York City circus. "I think you should go back out there," she whispered in my ear.
Of course not, I thought. I can't give them anything after the way they treated me, the way they embarrassed me in front of everyone. I don't have to give them anything.
Just then I got another tap on the shoulder. It was my father. He didn't say a word to me but I knew what he wanted. He commanded me, with his eyes, to go back out there. It was my job to go back out there.
So I lowered my head, picked up my tail and headed out the door. The mob of photographers didn't cheer when I returned, of course. They just yelled, "Do that chicken dance, monkey boy!" and I obliged, knowing that they were killing any speck of joy I used to have for my work.
I'll never forget that night and what I learned from it. Shame on them for doing that. Shame on me for letting them get away with it.
... and it was right about this time that I began reassessing my life and trying to figure out what kind of relationship I wanted to have with my family.
With my stint as Monkey-Monkey Boy behind me, and all my memories from that era now involuntarily erased from my mind, I realized that this was an opportunity for me. This was not a curse at all; this was a blessing. I was in that rarest of positions where I could redefine my life as I wanted it to be. I, for the first time in my life, could make decisions for myself that were solely for my benefit. My universe revolved around me.
The machine, the industry, that grew around Monkey-Monkey Boy was so large and the pressures so great that it suffocated any sense of self. People's livelihoods were on the line and I couldn't let them down. And not in the "Rah rah, team spirit" kind of way but the "Fail and I'll hurt you" way that reduced me to a robotlike state. It drove me into my shell.
A long time I spent in random hotel rooms around the world thinking about how life could be. But now I was free. I was fourteen years old and free to decide what kind of life I wanted.
I needed time to reflect. I was getting older and so much had happened in such a short amount of time that I didn't have the chance to think; I didn't let myself. This was about the time that I began writing these memoirs, but I thought that was lame. The mere thought that someone could retire at fourteen is silly enough, but to presume that my life warranted publishing a memoir at twenty seemed absolutely absurd. So I dropped the entire project and began a new one ...
Here is a toast to lovers lost. To friends and family reborn and a newfound life to be lived. Here's to decisions made, mistakes made, remade, regretted, and retracted again. To things lost and things never to be found. To the joys of life and to traumas thankfully avoided. Here's to thought, and to sleepless nights haunted by such things. Here's to the initial blast of cold water I get hit with in the shower every morning. Here is to the prospect of future love. Here's to me, and the twenty years it took me to be able to say that. Here is to the end of my toast.
cornelius and the beanstalk.
I am a collection of thoughts and memories and likes and dislikes. I am the things that have happened to me and the sum of everything I've ever done. I am the clothes I wear on my back. I am every place and every person and every object I have ever come across. I am a bag of bones stuck to a very large rock spinning a thousand miles an hour. I am nonsense. I am the grand total of everything I have and everything I have never been exposed to, but you don't know that. You don't know that because you don't know me ... or is it the other way around? And if you don't know me, or anything about me, then why should you continue on? Why go any further? Otherwise I'm just feeding you shit.
THE FOLLOWING WAS A REPORT FILED BY JUNIOR FOR A SENIOR ART PROJECT FOR A CLASS TITLED "REBELS AND VISIONARIES."
HE RECEIVED A C-.
I'VE NEVER BEEN TO THE MOON
When I was a young boy, no more than four years old, my father used to take me to work with him, which was an absolute thrill for me because he worked in a church. I used to love to help him clean the organ or ring the big bells in the big bell tower. And on one of those days when I had the privilege of going to work with him, I asked him if I could go to the moon. It must have been funny to him because he laughed. So I asked him again, and again and again and again. You have to understand that this was a serious question and he wasn't taking me seriously. I must have asked him a thousand and one times and was either laughed at or ignored. But by the thousand and second time I said "I wanna go the mooooon," he finally said yes. I've never been to the moon.
So far you have read 461 words and 1,787 individual letters.
THE WEMBLING WARRIOR Part 56
I am the knight of knights. I am the king of kings. I am the reason for everything that is and the end-all be-all of beef jerky. I am the hokey pokey of Manchester blondes. I had sex with a waitress one time. I am the Wembling Warrior and I am that I am ... the breakfast of champions.
My nineteen favorite movies: The Godfather part I. The Graduate. Breakfast at Tiffany's. Rushmore. Taxi Driver. Dr. Strangelove. Amadeus. Brazil. Raising Arizona. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The Hudsucker Proxy. Harold and Maude. Network. Zero Effect. The Sting (only the first time I watched it). CQ. Babe. Pulp Fiction. Midnight Cowboy.
A FASHIONABLE YOUNG MAN
I am a boy. I am a beautiful boy. I am only skin deep. I am a Burberry bird. I am a Prada penguin. I am the Hiawatha of lake Gichi Gucci. And a Versace jalopy. The skins I wear to school every day.
Why is everything wrong?
Oscar de la Mancha
I WATCH TELEVISION
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ...
Ladies and gentlemen, I ... watch ... television. Which doesn't mean a lot to me, but it sure means a lot to everyone else. When I was younger than I am today I watched T.V. and I liked it very much, so I kept watching. So some don't bother me. Others dismiss me as lazy. Like I'm not worth the food I eat or the bed I sleep in. Like I don't exist because I haven't cured some disease or invented a hilarious refrigerator alarm. But I don't care. I keep watching because I like to watch. I just wish there was nothing expected of me and no one cared where I was. I don't exist. Years later I became a traveler. There I am traveling to the kitchen and there I am traveling to the bathroom. And throughout my many adventures to places unknown, I have truly learned absolutely nothing. Which means I have learned more than I think I have and I'm worth more then I give myself credit for. But what is that worth? Certainly not my weight in gold, which brings me to another point: How do we know we really exist? Is the fact that I'm standing here enough to prove that I'm really here? Like if a tree falls in the woods, would anyone hear me? So if an alien race lands on the planet Earth tomorrow and asks me to prove I'm really here, what do I do? What do I give them? What do I tell them? What do I show them? I can't sing or dance. I can't paint. I've never built anything and I've never contributed anything significant to the human race. Like I was never here and no one would miss me if I were gone.
But I do have a family, and I do have friends, and so-called friends, and acquaintances, and many other people I see only around Christmas time. Maybe they could vouch for me. Maybe they could testify to my existence and save a part of me that thinks I'm no better than a bag of potato chips.
So who am I? Now that I'm here, how do I measure my worth? You could say the collection of meager possessions I have gathered over the course of my short life is who I am. Is what a man owns who he is? I have a gorilla named Abe. Is that who I am? Is that how I'll be remembered?
I hope not. I hope I'm remembered as the king of the world, the noble man who united all the nations of the earth. But that probably won't happen. At least not to me and definitely not today, because today I'm going to do what I do every day: I'm going to sit in bed and exist. I will do nothing and have nothing to show for it. Put most simply, in the words of my beloved Popeye: "I am what I am and that is all that I am." And that is how I exist.
I ... watch ... television.
MY NAZI FRIEND
I have a friend who talks a lot about Hitler. I don't think he's a Nazi, he just likes to be looked at.
Eat me. Drink me.
Right now beans cost $1.99 a pound.
It is shocking and surprising but not totally unexpected.
I call my little brother a doppelganger just to hear him say "What's a doppelganger?"
One could say that my father was a loving man who looked out for the best interests of his family. In fact, that's what he said. But others would say that he was a cold-blooded bastard who ripped my family apart from the inside out. I say he was what he was and no one could ever change that. To start, I think my father did do everything he could to secure my family's future. He fought like a tiger. He fought the way a man should against his enemies. But he had too many enemies. Some I could never see. He had invisible enemies.
Think the things I think I think ...
But not for a living.
To be the same as all the others is to be the wine I drink every night. You are the reason my blood doesn't clot.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PURPLE LIONS
One day a small boy asked me, "Are there purple lions?" as he colored a picture of one of them. I had to think about this for a long time. I wondered if it would be wrong to lie to him and say "Yeah sure, purple lions are everywhere" or if I should just give it to him straight and say "no." What is a man to say?
LOOK WHAT I KNOW
Did you know the largest artery in the human body is the aorta? Did you know Muhammad is the most common name in the world? Did you know the name "Wendy" did not exist before the book Peter Pan was published? Did you know the Bible is the best-selling book in the world? Did you know Harvey Fierstein is gay? Did you know 40% of American high school students cannot locate Canada on a map? Did you know the capital of Luxemburg is Luxemburg? Did you know I have a pet name for my penis (Floyd)?
Did you know one in three people believes plastic is an essential part of life? Did you know 70% of people believe in life after death? Did you know seven out of ten people think Babe Ruth is the all-time home-run champion? Did you know Hank Aaron is the all-time home-run champion? Did you know Babe Ruth is white? Did you know Eskimos have 49 words for snow? Did you know most people from Fargo do not like the movie Fargo? Did you know Greenland was once named Iceland and Iceland was once called Greenland? It's true. Did you know the Vikings did that to keep people away from their green land? Did you know ...
I want to burn a Y onto everyone's forehead.
I want to be able to hump people's legs and have them do nothing about it.
Humpty dumpty and his false relations.
I keep one of my best friends in a jar.
Excerpted from junior by Macaulay Culkin Copyright © 2005 by Macaulay Culkin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have never actually finished a book. Not even for school. I would always skim through or Google the synopsis. Today I not only finished a book, but I finished it in 5 hours; when usually I would read a few chapters. Put it down. Then pick it back up 7 years later. Main reason is because each page is a completely different story from the last and for what page comes next. It's not written in the TYPICAL WRITERS FORM that starts out with too much in depth boring details of information for 4 chapters straight and sentences written in such dull taste. This book is not like that at all. It had comedic fictitious stories and honest heartbreaking truth of his life. Yes, there are pictures, but they are more drawings in a comic book form. Felt more like a journal than anything. I am the MOST DIFFICULT PERSON TO PLEASE when it comes to reading. I don't even like reading magazines. I highly recommend this book. I LOVE it. Even started reading it over again because I felt with each story being different I might have missed something or miss interpreted something. I can't put it down.
"Junior" is really random and stream-of-consciousness but a lot of it is reflective and contemplative. I enjoy this style of writing and absolutely didn't mind it one bit. I loved bouncing around from poetry to the memoir excerpts to the short stories to the letters; it provided a good variety.
This "book" was nothing more than the a self-indulgent retelling of a mediocre career from a still precocious prat. This cannot be classified as any specific type of literature...one part terrible poetry, one part uninspiring memoir, one part poorly drawn cartoons. Don't waste you time on this one.
A year ago I thought it might be a good idea to buy and read Macaulay Culkin's new book Junior. That was pretty much the stupidest idea I've ever had. It's basically a meaningless miscellany of all too self-conscious stream of consciousness ramblings intended to paint our hero (affectionately calling himself "Junior") as some sort of creative, emotive force of modern writing. He comes off more as a crappy emo rock band that opens for a crappier emo rock band at your local Starbucks.Just because you're random doesn't mean your work has "layers of meaning." Just because you start every stupid list with "Dad" doesn't mean your relationship with him is somehow worth writing a book about.This book reminded me of the journal I had at the end of high school when I was deluded enough to think that someone would find it after I died and feel inspired to publish it. Every entry was painfully oozing with the effort to sound profound and artistic. Reading this book made me embarassed for Macaulay. I imagine he'll look back on it and cringe if he ever grows up.
I think what makes this book soooo goood is the fact that its so weird and unique! It is funny at times and it makes you think! it doesnt take long to read and I found that I enjoyed it even more the 2nd time through!
When I first saw the book, I thought " Macaulay Culkin can write? You must have been kidding me" back after opening the book I find myself unable to take my eyes off of it ( I finished the first 50 pages at Barnes and Nobles and decided that I have to buy it!) Culkin takes us into places where its half fictional and half truth, the book is full of humor yet somehow behind everyone of those jokes is a painful story behind it....I felt as if he was talking to me the entire time throughout the novel, and by the time it ends i felt as if i know who this person is. Despite what critic said, Junior is probaby the best book I have ever read * and believe me i read a lot* the story folds itself from the beginning till end, and its painful to see how many times Culkin tried to end the book but did not...at the ending however is most satisfying, whether youre a child, a teenager, a young adult, or an old person, Junior is set out for you to read...
when i first saw that there was a book out by macaulay culkin, i thought here comes another stupid book by a wannabe actor. but my intrigue got the best of me and i decided to read it, after which, i was pleasantly surprised. although this is not a story, in itself, but rather a collection of thoughts, poetry and mini cartoons, it is a reflection on growing up and becoming your own person. although confusing at times, mainly because of its lack of a timeline or plot, junior is a book that many 20-somethings, among others, could definitely relate to. it accurately reflects the way lives can be misleading, difficult, addictive, yet oh so wonderful at the same time. it's that contradiction that makes the book so great. culkin depicts a miserable, unhappy character throughout the book, yet somehow it gives you this amazing feeling of hope for the possibility of something better and something happy. all and all, i would say this is one of my new favorite books. it's realism, truthfulness and incite into, perhaps a misunderstood soul, is uplifting as this book of randomness could apply to anyone going through a life-altering experience.
I have never been a fan of Macaulay Culkin, but when I came across the book and read the horrible reviews of it, I had to buy it. I managed to read the whole thing from cover to cover without hesitation. It is very interesting if you are not looking for a plot or structure. It is far from a novel, but it is not intended to be one. It is a random collection of thoughts, lists, doodles, letters, and more. Despite the lack of structure, the writing talent is clearly there, and it was very enjoyable. An open-minded reader will enjoy it, while anyone expecting a sensable book will be clearly disappointed. I would recommend it to abstract thinkers with a unique sense of humor.
I've read the book and found it to be rather interesting. There were some parts that were a little confusing but all in all it was a good read and if you're a fan of Macaulay Culkin you'll enjoy it.
I, really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was great. Some parts in this book I didn't understand but, when i went back and read the book again I understood the book. I recomend this book to anyone. if you like macaulay culkin, please buy the book you won't regret it at all. there are suprizes that you think he would never say or do. thanks.
It was a very strange read... But I liked it. Not really a story or anything just so random...