Book review: I Know You’re Out There

I Know You're Out There - Michael BeaumierMichael Beaumier was the personals editor for the Chicago Reader for seven years and I Know You’re Out There is his reflections on that tenure: tales of the extremes of the personals ( the freaks, to put it kindly), stories of the myriad ordinary searches for love, behind-the-scenes with Beaumier and his small staff, and course of his own love- and family-life during that time.

With such a broad focus, and the fact that some of the chapters were previously free-standing pieces on This American Life, and there’s something of a disjointed feel to the book — it’s lying somewhat uneasily between a collection of completely separate essays and a coherent whole. But there’s quite a bit to like here also. As you might expect, there’s quite a bit of humor to be found in both the personalities and the process of looking for relationships via the personals. But there’s also a piece about Beaumier’s dead-as-an-infant brother that’s surprisingly affecting. And his honesty about his gradually dissolving relationship with his boyfriend grounds the book, I think.

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