By Graham Roumieu
40 pages, color
Published by Manic D Press
Celebrity autobiography is a strange, unique genre unto its own. Maybe it’s because most celebrities don’t have a particular knack for writing, meaning that one of two things happen: they work with a ghostwriter who “cleans up” the language and makes the book sound nothing like the supposed author, or the celebrity writes it on their own and it’s wonderfully incomprehensible, just like them. I think that’s just one of the many reasons why Graham Roumieu’s In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot is so utterly brilliant. You don’t get much more of a dead-on parody than this.
Bigfoot’s lived a long and troubled life, and at last he’s ready to share the details. From his friendship with Koko the talking gorilla, to his time in Hollywood, to the tragic death of Denis, anything and everything is finally laid out in the open for all to see. Witness the rise and fall of an American icon. And, as an added bonus: poetry!
Roumieu writes In Me Own Words as a series of short essays by Bigfoot about his life, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. Is it the tales of Bigfoot and Koko’s friendship soon after Bigfoot’s divorce where we learn about Koko’s secret fetish? Or maybe it’s Bigfoot talking about why he sold his condo and moved thanks to those evil squirrels and their slide whistles that they’d play all hours of the night. And then there’s Denis… poor, poor Denis. Roumieu writes Bigfoot’s voice as a beautiful combination of innocence and stupidity, and it’s hard to not mentally generate a specific sound for the narration as the book moves on in strange and bizarre new directions. Each little anecdote is funny in its own right, but the combination of them all together makes In Me Own Words laugh-out-loud funny.
You can’t talk about In Me Own Words without also mentioning Roumieu’s gorgeous watercolor paintings. Roumieu paints Bigfoot as a hulking oaf, the perfect match to the character’s writing. Each page is a combination of Bigfoot’s hand-written scrawl and a matching illustration, from grinning squirrels to hamsters in toy cars. As strange as the writing in In Me Own Words gets, the illustrations are even more so. It’s hard to not boggle at images of Bigfoot with his baseball cap and chains “chillin with [his] homies”, or playing guitar in a rock band complete with long hair and flannel shirt. Roumieu’s writing is near-perfect for In Me Own Words, but it’s his art that completes the package into something truly unique.
In Me Own Words is one of those very rare books which is funny not once or twice, but every time you read it. Every time you pull the book out, you’re going to start laughing, even stronger than before. It’s just that good. Despite the holidays being two months away, if you’re looking for that perfect gift for someone I know just what you need. Just buy two copies, because once you get a look at it you’ll want to keep one for yourself.