“You get up there and show everyone what this beautiful country is all about.”

A review by Bex Peyton

NEWSASS FLASHHOLES: Amerikkka’s favorite little victim can somehow be further bastardized—what could be sweeter? Meg McCarville’s latest abomination, Jonbenet Dreams of Being Shirley Temple (Self-published), has infiltrated reality long enough for me to be drooling on my keyboard about it. Co-authored by the late and legendary occultist, alien abductee, and owner of White Devil Records, James Banner (or was it?), Jonbenet Dreams is the ultimate slopaganda screenplay. Overgrown prostitoddler Jojo Siwa assumes the role of her former incarnate Jonbenet Ramsey, and, like every child exploit, is husked of her humanity, possessed, exorcized, strung up, strung out, and gives the best performance of her goddamn life, all while dreaming of a heaven so perfect it puts everyone else in hell. It is a literary desecration of a little girl’s grave, a blurring of the lines between love letter and bomb threat, an encapsulation of the American refleXXX where violence and sex are currency and enterainment is the only prize. Everyone’s a winner except the poor fucks who aren’t. Ding ding ding, JACKPOT! 

As I consume more and more “transgressive” and “underground” lit, I find myself becoming more drawn to works that are free of inhibition, unafraid to be hyperbolic, and, to put it colloquially, “take it there”. Jonbenet Dreams answers my sick prayers in a triumphant clash of humorous, scathing commentary and genuine fascination for the evil embedded in capitalist America. Interjected with an ingenious and contrasting poignancy, the book is clearly written with a sincere love for the idolized victims of past and present without compromising McCarville’s signature, unhinged style, making for a shocking and charming read that is only fitting for a work about the Pineapple Princess herself. What I find most impressive about the book is Banner and McCarville’s optimization of the screenplay form. Casting a pseudo-biopic with other real pop culture personas pushes the book into a tabloid territory that bridges the narrative’s eras with a campy, trashy glean and a transmediality that reflects its motif of the inescapable entertainment complex. Overall, Jonbenet Dreams of Being Shirley Temple is as offensive as it is truthful—a fully realized and intelligent infomercial from the pits of hell. 

In addition to (hopefully) convincing you to pick up this book, I also encourage you to embrace the world of self-publishing. Yes, the girl you went to highschool with who self-publishes her YA fantasy books on Amazon is probably a safe bet to stay away from, but, as evident here, there are undoubtedly some important works out there that you may miss if you have any hang-ups with self-publishing. Some art is too cool for the underground presses.

Find Jonbenet Dreams of Being Shirley Temple here.

And Meg McCarville’s other work here:

Four Circles