* WINNER OF THE 2022 NEW ENGLAND BOOK AWARD FOR NON-FICTION *
'A heart on the sleeve, demons in check, eyes unblinking, unbearably sad, laugh-out-loud funny revelation' MARLON JAMES
Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives - or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humour, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self.
Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.
Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.
'I felt more alive after reading these essays' ALEXANDER CHEE
'Isaac Fitzgerald will make you feel absolutely everything' ROXANE GAY
'This book will be a key in the lock of many hearts and minds' EMMA STRAUB