The author of Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and That's Mr. F****t to You returns with more skewed observations on the strange state of the queer union. As fans of his previous collections have happily discovered, little escapes his attention, and no topic is too controversial or sacred to be tackled. "The Condensed History of Gay Pride" is enough to send any politically correct gay leader shrieking into the streets. But Ford's favorite target remains himself. The fact that Cher's butt is more famous than he is really irks him, and he is willing to pretend to be straight in order to get help while shopping for clothes. He murdered his rival's "egg baby" in high school to secure a good grade, and he sacrificed his own to a chocolate cake. Whether he is equating becoming a man with buying a barbecue in the very moving "Rite of Passage" or considering the state of parenthood in the unforgettable "Cheaper by the Dozen," Ford continues to observe life in ways that help us more closely observe ourselves-while never, never forgetting to make us laugh.
Ford continues his winning streak (following Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and That's Mr. Faggot to You) with this collection of astute, acerbic and endearingly grumpy essays about his life as a new millennium gay man. Unlike some humorists--think David Letterman and David Sedaris--Ford isn't afraid to forgo quick punch lines when he comments on more serious topics, such as the shootings at Columbine High School and the sexism of a medical profession that heralds cures for impotence and balding, but drags its feet on breast cancer. Ford is at his neurotic best when dealing with his new boyfriend, Dave. In "Green-Eyed Monster," Ford is set on edge by Dave's trusting nature and lack of jealousy; in "Runaway Train," his mind begins to race when he hasn't received his daily call from Dave by the time midnight rolls around. Ford mines gold with his quirky theory that Stevie Nicks CDs can cure homosexuality, his proposed children's book series that nixes hand-holding with titles like "Face It: You're Fat" and "Face It: No One Likes You" and his reflections on the Kinsey Institute's downsizing of average penis from 6.16 inches to 5.2 inches. His concise histories of queer cinema, gay pride and first dates are also a hoot. In the end, Ford seems lovably curmudgeonly, not mean.