Did Peter Pan Inspire This Gay Prostitute Turned Novelist?
BY Savas Abadsidis
February 27 2013 5:00 AM ET
Peter Pandrew is the gut-wrenching story inspired by the true events of Internet personality Andrew Cristi's life, dealing with themes ranging from mental illness, sexuality, feminism, relationships, power, domination, identity, and coming of age — or lack there of. It's been likened to Running With Scissors. Ultimately it's a coming-of-age story that deals with him being a prostitute, working in fashion, being a stripper/go-go boy, fetish escort, and overall mess. The Advocate spoke with Cristi about handling all that while trying to maintain his innocence.
The Advocate: You say that this story began as a suicide note. How did it go from that moment in your life to becoming a book?
Andrew Cristi: I always had this big funeral in my head for myself. I talk about this in the book a lot. I don't know if it's really as touched upon in the first book, but by the second and third book — which get progressively darker — I really go into my obsession with death. I say that some people plan out their Academy Award speeches, some people sing in the shower... and here I was, constantly planning my funeral. I never really saw myself living past 25, so I really see myself on borrowed time, like a ticking bomb. Maybe it's the narcissism in me, or the desire to tell my story and the truth, since I feel so many people in my life that I have left behind don't know where they stand with me. But I just felt like this would help me live forever. It would give me a sense of immortality in the hearts of those I matter to. And as I wrote, I guess I let go of a lot and just became inspired in a new way. I really threw myself into this book, and it saved my life. It no longer was a suicide note, it became a goal, since I figured others out there probably could benefit from it.
You seem to have relished the excitement and thrills of some of the more risky encounters. Do you still?
I think I would be completely false and against my nature to act preachy and say I'm in some better place now, as if writing a book made me "completely better." As someone who studied psychology and the psychology of personality, I strongly believe that personality is constant and who you are at 5-years-old is who you'll always be. I'll always be a horny bastard that's desperate for adventure. I'm a danger-junkie at heart. That's not going to change. But... so was Peter Pan. And, that's why he was the perfect metaphor. He never changed either. I really like stories in general that aren't as much plot-focused, but more character-focused. This is a character study. In the end, that was what Peter Pan was. He never grew up. The message of this book wasn't that I should have to change, it was being able to accept that I probably never will.