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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.
Bought this book after all the hype about being a "must read" book. I waded and persevered through the first 100 pages and could not force myself to finish it! Read morePublished 8 days ago by J. L. Perez
I really wanted to like this book. And at first, I really did (well, once I got tired of trying to make it through the strange prologue parts and actually started reading chapter... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Anita Kelley Harris
Painfully verbose self examination for 300 pages. It had no real ending but I was grateful that it arrived nonethelessPublished 27 days ago by Henry Reed
I was completely baffled by this book. You could jump around without even missing anything because it made absolutely no sense at all.Published 1 month ago by Kathleen
Large chunks of this book were really enjoyable, largely because the author seemed so generationally familiar to me, and his tone and thought processes were also familiar seeming. Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. D. Burlin
Given this book by the girl I was dating, she raved on and on about how it changed her life and the views and the writing are epic and amazing.... it wasn't for me... Read morePublished 1 month ago by TFB