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But on to the true story. At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a "single mother" when his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother's upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his idea of suitable bedtime reading is John Hersey's Hiroshima.)
The book is also, perhaps less successfully, about being young and hip and out to conquer the world (in an ironic, media-savvy, Gen-X way, naturally). In the early '90s, Eggers was one of the founders of the very funny Might Magazine, and he spends a fair amount of time here on Might, the hipster culture of San Francisco's South Park, and his own efforts to get on to MTV's Real World. This sort of thing doesn't age very well--but then, Eggers knows that. There's no criticism you can come up with that he hasn't put into A.H.W.O.S.G. already. "The book thereafter is kind of uneven," he tells us regarding the contents after page 109, and while that's true, it's still uneven in a way that is funny and heartfelt and interesting.
All this self-consciousness could have become unbearably arch. It's a testament to Eggers's skill as a writer--and to the heartbreaking particulars of his story--that it doesn't. Currently the editor of the footnote-and-marginalia-intensive journal McSweeney's (the last issue featured an entire story by David Foster Wallace printed tinily on its spine), Eggers comes from the most media-saturated generation in history--so much so that he can't feel an emotion without the sense that it's already been felt for him. What may seem like postmodern noodling is really just Eggers writing about pain in the only honest way available to him. Oddly enough, the effect is one of complete sincerity, and--especially in its concluding pages--this memoir as metafiction is affecting beyond all rational explanation. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Eggers has a unique (and unorthodox) style of writing, but it didn't add much to the book.
I wouldn't know if things improved after page 65 as I just couldn't waste my time reading any further as there are too many books to read that I would really like.
I must give this book at least two stars since I was unable to even finish reading it after the first 100 pages.
First, note that all the positive reviews were in the year and after of the initial publication of this book. Read morePublished 3 days ago by BronxRev
Too much hate, too angry, too all over the place, repetitive. A very disturb older brother.Published 3 days ago by Paule-Andree
It's hard to believe Eggers wrote this as such a young man. While it has the voice of a person in his early 20s, his observations and how he conceptualizes them are far older. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Jenny F.
There's so much more to do with your life than read this book. I'm excited for you! Go for it!Published 5 days ago by Lin Tyler
One of my favorites. This book had me laughing outloud one minute and crying the next. It is life affirming and a feel good book.Published 12 days ago by Rebecca D. Reesman