There’s a woman, in her late 50s I think, who walks by the sign and me. Sometimes she stops. She likes me to know that she’s working at being a real reader. She just read a Walker Percy novel. She said next maybe she’d try Philip Roth. I enthused about that. Try Portnoy, I said. A few days ago she approached me reaching in her big bag to show me her Portnoy’s Complaint with a pen stuck in it as a bookmark about a quarter of the way in. She had a big smile on her face and said, It’s so funny.
I’ve read it two or three times. I grabbed a copy of it I have from a stack in my apartment a few nights ago and started to read it again.. You laugh of course. So much your eyes water. But it’s not just because it’s funny they water. The human genius of it, the perfection of it, can sort of make you cry.
It came out in 1969 and it sold more copies than The Godfather which came out then too.