To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him
by Gwendolyn Zepeda
Publication Date: September 30, 2004
Bind: Trade Paperback
With dark, knife-in-the ribs humor and poignant glimpses of youth and early adulthood, Gwendolyn Zepeda’s first book is the literati’s version of television variety shows of the 1970s. Chock full of sharp observations in a narrative that jumps from personal essay to a parody of romance novels to inventive fiction, this collection spans a wide range of themes: the complications of being a “half-white child of hippies born in Houston in 1971” and raised in a largely Mexican barrio … “How to Be a Trailer Trash Housewife” … and a midnight dance with a giant cockroach.
Though her creations aren’t easy to behold, they are assertive, calling out Zepeda’s own lessons learned as she strives to hammer out a life. She writes in “To the Last Man I Slept with and to Everybody Else,” a variation on the title story, “You wanted to be the rock star, the ninja, the cowboy in black. I wanted to be with those people so I pretended they were you. But secretly, I have always been all of those things.”
Weaving her exploration of family life, love, the struggle for economic stability, and the search for a personal creative space, Zepeda’s brash voice cuts at society’s stereotypes, at once critiquing those around her and herself. Family, friends, and the unwitting strangers around her—no one is safe from her commentary.
Not for the shy or the meek, Zepeda’s bold ruminations ring clearly through all her pieces, whether tough dramatizations or tongue-in-cheek fiction. She debuts a voice worth hearing that challenges, “If you want to, you can watch.”
Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Fwy, Bldg 19, Rm100
Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Project is a national project to locate, identify, preserve and make accessible the literary contributions of U.S. Hispanics from colonial times through 1960 in what today comprises the fifty states of the United States.
GWENDOLYN ZEPEDA was born in Houston, Texas, in 1971, and attended the University of Texas at Austin. Her works has appeared on numerous websites, and she has written and illustrated her award-winning website, gwendolynzepeda.com, since 1997. In 2004, Zepeda was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County’s Individual Artist Grant for literature. Her writing was hailed by EFE newswire as having the “potential to transform Latino literature of recent years and rid it of its bad habits and clichés.” She is currently serving a two-year term as Houston’s first Poet Laureate and her new poetry collection, Monsters, Zombies, and Addicts (Arte Público Press), will be available in early 2015. Her works include her debut book of poetry, Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners (Arte Público Press, 2013), Level Up / Paso de nivel (Piñata Books, 2012), Better with You Here (Grand Central Publishing, 2012), I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón (Piñata Books, 2011), Lone Star Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2010), Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009), Houston, We Have a Problema (Grand Central Publishing, 2009), Growing Up with Tamales / Los tamales de Ana (Piñata Books, 2008), and To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him (Arte Público Press, 2004). She continues to live and work in Houston.
Learn more at gwendolynzepeda.com.