Kate Wilson
June 17, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The collection of essays entitled Man Medium Rare: Sex, Guns, and Other Perversions of Masculinity sparkles with gems, but it’s all so shapeless that it should be titled Stuff I Kinda Thought Up. Ian Brown explores what it means to be a man by interviewing car thieves and porn stars, watching men’s face-lifts, surfing, spying on pickup techniques in bars, and, yes, joining a men’s group. (”My hesitation to prance in the woods with fat nude men was, I realize, a bad sign. I was not open to change.”) Brown’s a genius with crystalline phrases like ”Every time I see [my mother], I know the number of our meetings grows smaller by one.” But some of every chapter sags, like when he dubs sex ”the cycle of all life told again and again,” or when he writes his notion of a naked dancer’s internal monologue. Brown’s wonderful wordplay is fun; his scatterbrained sociology isn’t. B-

You May Like