Matt Forney
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Mine by Peter Sotos

mineThis book was a massive letdown.

Coming after the pornographic gloriousness of Tool., Mine is a title that should have stayed buried on Peter Sotos’ computer. Tackling the same subject as Tool.—the lurid, bleak world of pedophilia, seedy hookups and gloryhole gayness—Mine lacks that work’s penetrating bite. The book is a sprawling mess of half-copied news reports, police interrogations and earnest confessions stretching out to infinity, where intrigue turns to boredom and finally disgust.

It’s not horrible, but it’s a poor example of Sotos’ talent.

Hell, the awful-looking cover should have been a dead giveaway that this book was a turkey. A bland recitation of child pornography-related citations, it’s the perfect way to prepare yourself for the dullness within. Ostensibly presented as the confessions of a child pornographer to an unknown third party (presumably a police officer, though the identities of both protagonist and antagonist are deliberately left vague), the book is a run-on series of improperly spaced declarations and reports:

I learned a long time ago. I watch the adults grow into their childhood stories, not the opposite. I know, for example, that if I’m moved to a response that I’ll do it from the wrong side of their clothes. I’ve done this with every single prostitute I’ve been with since I learned. I ask them to keep their clothes on. Sometimes I’ll pay extra so that they’ll finally put my dick into their mouths. I’m just fine, better even, masturbating while I stare at them and, more importantly, take in as much as they want to project at any given boredom cash amount of bother. I prefer that all these women leave their clothes on, don’t expose themselves, don’t touch me. I was getting them to pull my cock for awhile, like a kid’s handjob. But I stopped that soon enough too. I’d look for white women. Whatever that means these days. Just not the subsistence slime that I used to pick up in my late teens and early twenties. I don’t like lingerie the same way I don’t like ghetto skin. Which, in most cases back then, were bulky but braless sweaters and loose-stained stinking blue jeans. The ones with the make-up, the ones with hair that had been nodded out on, the rats that crawl out when they need to, I have a natural revulsion.

On and on it goes. The crisp, whiplash writing that Sotos displayed in Tool. gives way to a directionless ramble in Mine. The book appears to have no concrete structure or point, beyond a vague repetition of a handful of questions (e.g. “How frequently do you masturbate?”) that give Mine the musical sensibility of a hipster art noise band. The book has no separate parts or chapters; it’s just one stream-of-consciousness spew from beginning to end.

All 240 pages of it.

I started out liking Mine, but Sotos’ constant repetition and aimlessness quickly wore me down, leading me to glaze over whole paragraphs in an attempt to get to the end. The guilt-infused, confessional nature of this book is an interesting contrast to the triumphal tone of Tool., but Sotos does little to invest the reader in what’s going on, instead slopping on paragraphs like a five-year old drowning her meatloaf in ketchup:

You grind your ass like a nigger. I’ve fucked too many niggers. I didn’t want to fuck them anymore. As a child, the prostitutes acted as if they had something to sell. Something inescapable. I had an easier time avoiding them than their liberal goods and markets.

Bottom line: if you really, really like Sotos’ other works, Mine is worth reading. Everyone else should skip it.

Click here to buy Mine.

Read Next: Tool. by Peter Sotos