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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.
I made myself finish reading this book, thinking maybe there would be a some meaning buried in this rambling mess. However, the end was typical of the book - pointless . Read morePublished 7 days ago by R. Lee
Just no. The author is way too wordy and could not find a point at the end of a freshly sharpened pencil.Published 16 days ago by Christy
Rambling stream of consciousness that brings a haze to my vision. Skipping words, paragraphs, and pages and yet cannot engage.Published 17 days ago by Mariah MacKay
I hate stopping a book before I've finished it. I always think that if I keep going there will be some redeeming value. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Carol Schmidt
I found the relationship between Eggers and Toph charming--pseudo father/son, but a lot more like two kids growing up together. Eggers' off the wall sense of humor was great. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Nora Davis
I love the "content" of the book. Very inspiring. Obviously the author has sacrificed a lot for the sake of the family. Who wouldn't? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bevo warrior
Delivered in a weird file format. Had to delete and re - add maybe it was my ipad. Not a great book. Not well written. Confusing to follow.Published 1 month ago by Becci Casey