Matt Metzler self-published A Better Person: A Novel via Brickwork Press on October 20, 2014. Click the cover image below to purchase a copy of the book for $8 directly from the author.
A Better Person is a semi-autobiographical novel about an especially difficult six- or seven-month period of time during the narrator’s sophomore year of college; in a similar vein to Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it’s a deeply personal narrative that grapples with questions about finding home, unrequited affection in friendships and intimate relationships, depression and anxiety, and the increasing pressures of early adulthood.
“A shift had occurred in the universe. It was unprecedented. My arms were no longer useless. My arms were flailing in pursuit of what I knew to be within my reach, at last. And for the next three years, even after he’d turned away from me, even after we’d stopped speaking for months at a time, I never lost sight of him. How could I? He was my gold standard, and if I couldn’t have him, I was convinced that I’d never have anything; that the universe would shift back to the way it had always been, and I would return to a pair of dead arms. To nothing.”
The printing, publishing, and promotional costs for this book were raised entirely by a successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2014. Matt began writing A Better Person during the summer of 2012, completed the first draft in January 2013, and finished the final revisions during the summer of 2014.
The material within this novel comes from one of the most emotionally difficult and draining years of my life. In 2012, my sophomore year in college, I moved out of the faith-based, on-campus living/learning community that I’d opted to live in just a few months earlier. I’d grown exhausted of attempting to reconcile my sexual orientation with the conservative atmosphere of the Evangelical student organizations that my roommates and hallmates participated in, and tired of having to hide myself and my identity in the place that I willingly called home. I moved into an apartment with my best friends, and within a month, my new home had grown more tense than the one I’d just left, and I found myself disconnected from every source of friendship and community that I’d established since coming to college. I also found myself head over heels in love with someone who I hadn’t seen since high school—”the one who got away,” so to speak—and I threw everything that I had into getting close to him, including leaving my college town altogether. And that was only the first few months of the year. -Matt Metzler (2014)