Joseph Edwin Haeger

Book Review: The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper by Young Stepdad

(The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper by Young Stepdad; cover detail; 11:11 Press)

Joseph Edwin Haeger reviews The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper by Young Stepdad, published by 11:11 Press.

 

The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper by Young Stepdad doesn’t have a whole lot of rapping, or even talking about music in it. There’s one section showcasing a song he’s writing and a few brief asides about a recording studio or an engineer, but mostly this is a book about a man’s mental well-being. It acts as a diary (duh) and provides us a portal to delve further into Young Stepdad’s psyche.

 

 

There have been multiple people coming out on social media claiming to be Young Stepdad—I have my suspicions on who the real one is—and, at first, I was curious why someone would go through the rigmarole of creating a whole persona to put out a single book; but now that I’ve read it, I get it. We need the buy-in that Young Stepdad is a real guy so we can fully believe this is a true and raw story. If the facade of truth is shattered, then we lose a major overall effect of the novel and, really, that’d be a damn shame.

We start out hearing some ridiculous and hilarious insights from Young Stepdad—how he wants to shove a turd back into his butt so he can dump it out again, and how he might be sexually attracted to eggs based on his arousal at seeing a hummingbird out his window. I was immediately hooked and wanted to hear more about this guy’s worldview and these goofy-ass stories, but it didn’t take long to pivot from short paragraphs to longer vignettes, diving further into his personal history. We learn about his sexual experiments with both guys and girls, and then get the backstory about his mom and her own romantic relationships. These moments continually pile up and shape the man we begin to understand.

 


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At a certain point, though, toward the end of the book, it’s almost like Young Stepdad feels like he got too personal and pulls back. He reverts to short paragraphs again and keeps us at arm’s length—but the proverbial box has been opened.

What’s so interesting about The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper is the way it worms its way into your mind, setting up shop and not letting you forget how it makes you feel—and that’s what’s so odd and impressive. It’s that base-level feeling that sticks with you. It’s not so much the hard facts about Young Stepdad’s life that we’ve learned throughout the book that stick with us, but the emotions it’s able to elicit in the process.

 

What’s so interesting about The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper is the way it worms its way into your mind, setting up shop and not letting you forget how it makes you feel …

 

Like eating sweet and sour pork, or sweet and sour candy, or sweet and salty snacks—alright, that’s maybe one too many, but you get the idea—reading The Secret Diary of a SoundCloud Rapper gives us a satisfying combination of insights. Yes, we’re getting the story about him masturbating in the shower, slipping and breaking his arm, and then low-key orgasming while he’s sitting in the ER. Is that funny? Hell yes. But we’re also getting stories about how he self-admitted himself into the youth psychiatric ward because of his suicidal tendencies. Is this heartbreaking and humbling? Absolutely. Both of these approaches are successful and engaging, and when they’re placed side-by-side, we get that sweet and sour combination where both flavors complement each other so well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but, from the first page, I’m so glad I picked it up. It’s a quick read and I’d suggest knocking it out in a single sitting. Again, it’s the feeling and atmosphere that Young Stepdad can translate and transfer to us that makes this such a special piece of art. It’s the kind of book that I’m going to look back at in fifteen years and, while I probably won’t be able to cite any specifics from it, I’ll know exactly how it made me feel.

 

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Joseph Edwin Haeger is the author of Learn to Swim, a memoir published by University of Hell Press.

 

Joseph Edwin Haeger

Joseph Edwin Haeger is the author of Learn to Swim (University of Hell Press, 2015). His writing has appeared in The Pacific NW Inlander, RiverLit, Hippocampus Magazine, and others. He lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife and son.

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