Spalding Gray: It's A Slippery Slope

Spalding Gray: It's A Slippery Slope

It's A Slippery Slope, a transcription of Spalding Gray's most recent monologue, covers his attempts to learn how to ski, an activity that coincides with the breakup of his 17-year relationship and the birth, by a different woman, of his first child. By any ordinary standard, Gray ought to be wearing thin by now. After all, how much do we need to know about the man? The last decade has found him describing in detail his experiences abroad (Swimming To Cambodia), his difficulties writing (Monster In A Box), his eye problems (Gray's Anatomy), and, in his most credibility-stretching move since appearing in the Dolly Parton movie Straight Talk, the virtues of Virgin Airlines. Still, for most of It's A Slippery Slope, that doesn't matter. Gray has gotten good at the confessional monologue, and this latest series of crises, though familiar in tone, measures up to his previous work. The problems with the book arrive with Gray's occasional tendency to lapse into psychobabble. Of course, he's smart enough to offset this by commenting on the fact that he's lapsing into psychobabble, and that goes a long way. But another problem is that, though it's a good read, It's A Slippery Slope was meant to be performed, and the gap between the written word and the spoken one is often apparent. Still, until the movie is made—or Gray shows up in your hometown—it's the best way to get the latest installment in the saga of a complicated, articulate, funny, and deeply troubled man.

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