Ten years ago, before he became a famous writer/director before Tromeo & Juliet, before Dawn of the Dead, before SLiTHER James Gunn wrote The Toy Collector. It s an audacious, hilarious, ribald and at times poignant novel (or is it a memoir?) about collecting (toys, people, drugs), obsessing, falling into and losing love, getting back up and finally maybe growing up. Juxtaposing chapters, set in the 70 s of his middle class childhood (remember Rock-Em, Sock-Em Robots?) and the 90 s of his coming of age in Manhattan (remember the price of a dime bag?) capture the zeitgeist of two different eras without a whit of sentimentality, apology or ironic distance. It s one of those books that have you laughing out loud, cringing a bit, and breaking your heart for a moment sometimes all on the same page."