Diary of an Oxygen Thief by Anonymous c. 2006 (151 pages—Gallery Books)

The author is anonymous, wholly without an internet persona perhaps because, as he confesses, he’s a horrible person (as evidenced by his treatment of women). The book, self-published and semi-autobiographical, is an edgy and well-written account of how an emotionally damaged man takes his hurt out on women.

Sentences worth studying

  • “And the fact that they were attracted to a piece of shit like me made me hate them even more than if they’d laughed in my face and walked away” (4).
  • “And one night I just cracked up. It’d been bubbling for ages. Simmer, simmer, bubble, stew . . . gurgle. I got completely fizzingly drunk and this whole chain of events began to rattle. Why would anyone set out to break the heart of someone he loved? Why would anyone intentionally cause that kind of pain?” (8).
  • “Romance has killed more people than cancer. Okay, maybe not killed, but dulled more lives. Removed more hope, sold more medication, caused more tears” (16).
  • “The conversation that started the ball rolling on the events of the following three years took place in the rattling hallway of an old French farmhouse in the Dordogne with dogs barking and the mistral shaking the windows” (40).
  • “American lawns are loaded with social and political meaning. There is a law somewhere that says you have to maintain your lawn or the neighbors can force you to. I knew nothing of this and immediately reveled in the possibility of allowing my front and back gardens to return to nature. A polite knock on my front door changed all that” (48).
  • “Also, I’m completely paranoid. I mean seriously paranoid. Not just mildly interested in the fact that there may be people who don’t necessarily have my best interests at heart. No. The word is ‘paranoid.’ Another word is ‘self-centered.’ I don’t like that one as much, though. Doesn’t sound medical enough” (50-51).
  • “I should have been the perfect candidate for some self-respecting clean-gened Minnesotan girl. But fuck it, the big toothy smiles, the thick needy niceness. That crazy wide-eyed stare. I still don’t know what that was. Zoloft? Stupidity? In New York, everyone just looked hurt. It seemed more honest. Maybe I just identified with them” (64).
  • “A roasted turkey with no legs was steaming in the space between us. It was the first time my mother had brought a turkey on her own, and it had seemed like a bargain to her to buy the one that had no legs. It was considerably cheaper than the able-bodied version” (69).
  • “It’s not the fault of the ad agencies. It’s actually your fault. / The public. / And if this never gets published, it’s your fault, too, because it means that this kind of story was deemed uninteresting to you. / You bastards” (91).
  • “By the way, I am aware that up to this point I sound like a jilted boyfriend trying to disguise his attempt at revenge (i.e., this whole story) as a literary event that you (the reader) are supposed to be taken in by. Maybe” (111).
  • “Actually, it’s just occurred to me that there is no ending to this book, if it is a book, happy or otherwise. It’ll only be a comma in the sentence that will be added to it when her book comes out. There is a revenge element to all this” (148).

About Kelsey Maki

writer and English professor
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