reviews & press

Book Lust with Nancy Pearl (TV interview)

Nancy Pearl and I sit down for a nice chat at the University Book Store.

Nancy Pearl recommends A List to Marcie Sillman on KUOW

“Painfully honest — painful in a good way… I haven’t read a memoir about childhood that affects me emotionally [like] A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me.”

That Stack of Books, Live from Town Hall (podcast)

Lovely sit-down interview with Steve Scher, in front of a live studio audience. Spicy, with just a hint of stage fright.

Blabbermouth (podcast)

Interview with Eli Sanders following Mayor Ed Murray, talking about the history of Seattle and Capitol Hill culture and housing.

the Stranger 

“The 400-page narrative progresses at a seemingly impossible speed, somewhere between a fireworks display and a school bus plunging over a bridge… In addition to being a literary delight, List functions as a historical document, providing a plausible account of the clusterfuck of societal problems that led to the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Seattle.”

Dan Savage Lovecast (podcast)

“I’m in awe of this book. I want everyone listening to read this. It’s not just a book for gay people, or gay parents, or kids who have gay parents. It’s just tremendous… I couldn’t put it down.”

ALAN Picks (National Council of Teachers of English)

“If Mark Twain came of age in the 1980s, was raised in abject poverty with sporadic schooling, had an absentee mother and an abusive, drug-addicted and drug-dealing gay father whom he watched slowly die from AIDS, and yet somehow managed to emerge relatively whole, he would be Jason Schmidt.”


“Jason’s recollections are poignant, horrifying, darkly hilarious and completely compelling. This is not young-adult literature; it is literature good enough to engage a young-adult audience.”


“Schmidt’s memoir is heartbreaking and touches the soul . . .  Schmidt’s brilliant prose will fascinate and appall teens and adults who read memoirs.”

Seattle Magazine

“From the opening line of the prologue, which grabs you by the hair and drags you into a blood-spattered home, this coming-of-age memoir is a page-turner.”

Seattle Times (full book review)

“The power of this book comes through its perspective. Schmidt’s narrator is the 10-year-old you’ve seen wandering winter streets without a coat; the kid you’ve wondered about as he ambles arcades during school hours.”

Seattle Times

Author Q&A with Times reporter Claudia Rowe.

Boston Globe

“Schmidt asks readers to press their imaginations against the sharp edges of his memories to try to understand what it was like growing up in a house made of shattered glass.”

Washington Blade

“[A] powerful, emotional coming-of-age tale of an unstable childhood, of the beginning of AIDS and of people purposely living on the edge of society with little-to-nothing, all told in a voice dripping with sarcasm, irony and anger. That voice hooked me — I laughed. I got teary. I loved it.”


“You have to hand it to Schmidt: He really turned a horrible childhood into a fascinating memoir.”


“This title joins the ranks of harrowing true stories like Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It (1993) and Augusten Burrough’s Running with Scissors (2002), compelling accounts of childhood despair that are painful to read and impossible to put down.”

Publishers Weekly

“Schmidt’s memoir — which spans his childhood to late adolescence and chronicles his abuse and near homelessness at the hands of his drug-addicted gay father—is an emotionally demanding read.”