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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.
Beautifully written. One of the best and most relevant memoirs I've read. Tough to read at some points if you've lost a parent. But worth it if you persevere.Published 3 days ago by Edward Scheetz
My wife didn't love, felt a bit indulgent at times and never got through it.Published 18 days ago by Bryan G
I couldn't finish it. I tried but I got sick of how long it took him to make even the smallest. All families experience tragedies but no everybody is so relentlessly, endlessly... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Jauna L Head
I am 50 pages into Eggers memoir and have to agree with many of the reviews. Eggers writes no less than 40 of these pages about his mother's nose bleed. Read morePublished 28 days ago by joanie1018
His story is indeed heartbreaking. And parts of this book - especially the beginning where he writes about coping with his mother's illness - are really moving and funny. Read morePublished 29 days ago by jolev
The first half of the book is about the author and his relationship with is son and I found it intriguing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amanda
In my opinion, Eggers bounces around too frequently for my liking and has a tendency to draw out certain sections without any identifiable motive. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kim S
I don't get all the hype about this book. I went in expecting a great read but found myself bogged down in an endless boring quagmire of a story about a standard dysfunctional... Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Stuck