Books Articles

The Only Decent Review: The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

Irresistibly blunt

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Grayson Perry poses for portraits in the green room ahead of introducing his BFI Screen Epiphany choice of "Koyaanisqatsi" at National Film Theatre on March 5, 2014 in London, England. The screening is a BFI membership exclusive in partnership with American Express. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

There is something irresistibly blunt about Grayson Perry. This uncompromising rant about how traditional "macho" notions of masculinity can damage mental health could've been burdened by leaden jargon and hypothetical experiences; instead, you get "somewhere in my psyche I wanted to rock up at my mother's house and wave my big shiny metal d*ck [an E-Type Jaguar] in my father's face." In the early pages, some of his points feel over-familiar to the point of obviousness – a happy consequence of these issues entering mainstream discourse – but the insistent, slap-to-the-face delivery and hilarious, piercing illustrations soon drag you through any doubts. And his solutions on how to protect further generations, particularly on how to encourage children to show more emotions, are astute and moving.

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