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Book Review: Me on Me by Jan Gero

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Me on Me by Jan Gero is a small collection of seven stories that the author has borrowed from journals that he wrote over a period of fifty years. These stories cover events that took place when he was in his sixties and seventies. It also includes numerous illustrations that help round out the stories. The author, Jan Gero, was born in Denmark. Half Danish, half Russian, he moved to the United States while he was still a young boy. Leaving his biological father and half siblings behind, he joined his mother and his stepfather. The stepfather was a psychoanalyst. Feeling separated by distance and then by death from his father, Jan wasn’t fully accepted into his stepfather’s world. Even when he was in his nineties, Jan helped care for him, hoping to gain his acceptance as a son even though he didn’t share his blood.

Jan’s first story begins with the care of this man. Moving into his home with him, he assists him while his other caretakers are off work or not available. During his free time, Jan writes, does yoga and meditation, race walking and pursues his passion for women. While Jan is trained as an architect and does architectural illustrations, his interests in structures extends beyond those of buildings and includes those of women. Spending a great deal of time focusing on dance-movement training and performing as a solo multi-media artist, Jan is also enthusiastic about taking care of his body and his health.

As Jan takes us through each story, we gain a great deal of visual understanding of where he is at. These places include New York City, Mexico, Denmark and a variety of others that his journeys take him to. Vividly describing the people and the landscape bring what he sees to life. Colorfully describing his sexual fantasies show us that he holds nothing back in his thoughts. Nothing is taboo. Some of the fantasies are unsettling. Because he doesn’t have reservations about sharing his thoughts, actions, or some health issues, I felt that Jan is baring his soul to his readers. His honesty is refreshing. It is also interesting to see that as much as his works on himself both physically and mentally, inside he stays a young man. Sometimes it seems like he forgets this. Perhaps it is because he has kept himself in such fine physical condition, or because he isn’t done with resolving issues that happened earlier in his life. No matter what his age is, in his journals, Jan keeps active and moving forward. As I read his stories I felt guilty for sitting on the couch and being lazy. I felt like I was motivated to eat healthier and exercise more so that my body won’t fail me!

I enjoyed reading Me on Me. I think that editing would help perfect it. Open minded readers will enjoy going along with Jan on his journey. As I read, I felt like I was both an armchair traveler and a voyeur. Knowing there is a forthcoming sequel, I am curious as to what else Jan has to share with us!

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