Bent But Not Broken is an unflinchingly honest memoir about the onset of Peyronie’s disease, a painful and sexually limiting condition that affects more than 5% of the worldwide adult male population. Don Cummings writes humorously about the emotional and collateral damage brought on by a suddenly curved penis as he struggles to maintain his sense of sex and self. He openly details the doctor visits, the excruciating treatments, and the acute anxiety over the state of his long-term relationship with a man who is supportive but often helpless in the face of nature’s whims. Discordant domestic life, a harrowing kidnapping by a handsome stranger, and reminiscences of a hyper-active sexual past are woven into the single-minded quest to minimize the effects of this deforming disorder. Brace yourself for a daring, heartfelt and beautifully twisted story of love and survival.
Cover Design by Chip Kidd.
Reviews, News & Interviews
The New York Times, Personal Health --Jane Brody
The Advocate --Diane Anderson-Minshall
New York Journal of Books --Heidi Mastrogiovanni
A Body of Work: The Tour, Rain Taxi --Don Cummings
Kinkly, Finding Pleasure When Erections Hurt --August McLaughlin
Book Passage, The Body, The Self, A Book, Cagibi Express --Don Cummings
Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Bestseller
Podcast: Dennis Anyone? --Dennis Hensley
Podcast: Girl Boner --August McLaughlin
Authors in the Afternoon --Dennis Hensley
“Cummings’ skills as a writer are apparent from the beginning. His prose is effortlessly clever, finding the entertaining medium between lyricism and sass. The frankness with which he discusses his problem, the treatment, and his sex life makes for an oddly shocking book—one rarely reads quite so much about penises, as central as they often are to literature. He manages to demystify and destigmatize Peyronie’s, which though obscure is not completely uncommon. More than that, he makes the most of an undignified opportunity to examine his own masculinity.”
"Cummings’s book joins the ranks of other great gay medical memoirs (think Augusten Burroughs’s)."
THE ADVOCATE--Diane Anderson-Minshall
"In Bent But Not Broken, Cummings invites readers into his life, and the result for many will be a feeling of knowing this man well. It is a relationship with a storyteller that is entirely worth experiencing. Cummings is of course the protagonist of his story, but his penis is an ever-present and often problematic sidekick. Several of the themes of this memoir are almost like secondary characters: the ravages of aging, fidelity, family, and self-awareness."
NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS--Heidi Mastrogiovanni
"To the world-class pantheon of memoirists like David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs and Jonathan Ames, let us now add Don Cummings’ BENT BUT NOT BROKEN. With Bent, Cummings may have single-handedly invented a new genre: the phallic memoir. Like all great personal essayists, the author mines his private torments - and tormented privates - transforming them, with wit, grace and weirdness, into a riveting, original story of triumph and transcendence."
JERRY STAHL--Author of Permanent Midnight and Bad Sex on Speed
"Daring, funny, candid, tender, Bent But Not Broken reveals the paradoxical truth about manhood: our strength as men is our weakness, and vice versa. Don Cummings is a witty, insightful writer, and this book is a marvel."
JOHN SEDGWICK--author of In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family
“Bent But Not Broken is a hilarious and deeply moving memoir about a penis and its owner. But more than that it’s about the nature of love, the flux of relationships, and how bodies betray us all. Cummings is a stunning writer and excellent travel guide for this journey through his life."
MAGGIE ROWE--Author of Sin Bravely and writer on Arrested Development.
"The penis having fallen into ill-repute of late, it’s oddly refreshing to spend some time with Don Cummings as he whisks us through his adventure with Peyronie’s disease (a condition, as he reminds us repeatedly, not in fact a disease) the primary symptom of which is an increasing crookedness of that which should most usefully be straight. Like his penis, Cummings gets bent out of shape, and not only on account of his condition: also just by being human, a man, a gay man who wants what he wants, as most of us do: love, intimacy, sex, money, fame, and sex. Cummings can’t help but be funny, but he also can’t stop being honest, and his writing achieves real poignancy that will grab you by the heart and penetrate deep into your soul, if you’re the soulful type. If not, your mind, and definitely your memory. It’s an unforgettable, beautiful book."
RICK WHITAKER--Author of Assuming the Position and an Honest Ghost.
Read (or Leave!) Reviews on Goodreads.
Coming . Recent . Now
The Water Tribe
Claudia is young, parentless, minimally employed, and almost without family or friends but she remains upbeat about her future and confident in her quest to form a personal tribe for herself and her boyfriend Johnny. But Johnny has problems of his own. He has launched into adulthood but still struggles to cut the cord from his concerned mother while searching for a connection to his long-absent father. As the few people Claudia has in her life begin to fall away and the problems in her relationship are laid bare, she teeters on the brink of catastrophe in this searing, darkly funny tragicomedy about the
critical importance of community, identity, and home.
The Water Tribe is one of the strangest plays I've ever seen, a study in insanity, but it'll be a long time before I forget it.
--Willard Manus, TotalTheater
You simply can't take your eyes away from its hot mess of a female protagonist or Hannah Prichard's tornado of a lead performance. For those willing to put up with a whole lot of crazy, The Water Tribe makes for one wild ride.
--Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA
It's a wild ride, and much like a roller coaster, you feel both a mix of relief and nostalgia the moment it's over. I highly recommend this play.
--Matthew Robinson, LATheatrebites
Cummings tills the writer’s soil exposing an unearthed field, the barren aridity of lost souls, and the underbelly of civilization is on full display, which at times makes the audience writhe in their seats. Sometimes it is hard to watch as this part of humanity collapses into ruin. The original work of art is certainly theatrical and something to ponder long after you leave the theatre. Run! And take someone you think is living on the edge. You'll both be enlightened.
--Joe Straw #9
DON CUMMINGS lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Adam Waring, and Maude.
His love-sex-and-health memoir, Bent But Not Broken, was released March 15, 2019 by Heliotrope Books. Don has been published in Rain Taxi, Epiphany, Post Road Magazine, Cagibi, The Coachella Review and often performs his stories at venues around the country: Comedy Central’s Sit ‘n Spin, HBO Workspace, Brooklyn Reading Works, Tell It!, Personal Space and True Story. His many plays have been produced and read on both coasts, performed by committed artists, curious interlopers and Meryl Streep. Don has appeared on television and in film, but more often on stage. His production company, Pacific Hudson Railroad, produces and develops filmed and recorded entertainment. A graduate of Tufts University with a degree in biology and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre with an actor certificate, he spends most days writing, playing music and desiring some kind of peace.