Newspaper Diapers by M. T. Johnson — Reviewed by Guy Portman
Newspaper Diapers consists of a series of loosely connected vignettes about child abuse and group homes being recounted by various perverse and narcissistic narrators. The line between abuser and victim is blurred in these traumatic accounts that entail self-harm, illicit sex and a youth obsessed with sniffing buttholes.
These episodes, which provide insights into adolescent psychosis, are all the more harrowing for their candid prose and deadpan tone. M. T. Johnson is a skilled storyteller, who successfully elicits his audience’s anguish. What Newspaper Diapers lacks in length, it more than compensates for in disturbing content. The book left an indelible mark on this reader’s mind.
Perhaps this transgressive work’s incoherent structure is a metaphor for the discombobulated minds of the characters that populate it.