The Trouble with Kim: On Transcending Despair and Approaching Joy
Seth David Branitz
InterSection Press (2020)
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (5/2021)
“The Trouble with Kim” introduces readers to Seth Branitz and his stories of growing up and early adulthood. Instead of being a straight throw narration of his life, Seth uses stories of different parts of his life to explain his dysfunctional life (and whose life isn’t dysfunctional?). These stories go through his views of his drug addicted brother, Kim; his own drug history; his relationships with his parents; the struggle of relationships; death; and eventually finding his own place in this crazy world. Trigger Warning: There may be some stories or situations upsetting to readers.
I rather enjoyed the way that Branitz told his life story. Each “chapter” is a different story labeled with its own fitting couple of words and his age of when the event took place. They are not necessarily in chronological order and that doesn’t affect his story. It is like how he remembered his life and wrote it down. When anyone goes back through their life, they remember certain events and it is never in order.
Branitz’s story touches on so many different hardships of life: drugs, mental health, physical health, death, love. Branitz is honest with his feelings towards his family, friends, and random events. He doesn’t try to give an opinion on how others felt about each other….just how he dealt with it all. Some things he dealt with better than others.
I would have liked to have seen more positive stuff-like more about his relationship with his wife. But when dealing with everything that he had to deal with, I’m not surprised that there wasn’t more positive stories. This wasn’t a story about the unicorns and rainbows people sometimes pretend life is. Branitz’s life wasn’t an easy one and “The Trouble with Kim” doesn’t hide away from the difficulties that he faced. It is an honest look at one’s life and how he overcame so many things to become the person that he currently is.