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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars objects and curiosities
The basics: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris is more about the objects than it is in Paris. In truth, Stephanie LaCava considers herself an outsider whether or not she's in Paris and traces her emotional history through objects.

My thoughts: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is a unique memoir. It's told in vignettes of...
Published 22 months ago by Carrie Dunham-LaGree

versus
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not fluid
I had very high hopes for this book after I read the reviews. It seemed unique. The details were extremely interesting and I liked several quotes.
It wasn't the writing that turned me off, but the structure of the book. The time lapses were disheartening. As soon as I became invested, LaCava changed the scene. Upon rereading the description and it is a COLLECTION OF...
Published 22 months ago by EML


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not fluid, December 25, 2012
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I had very high hopes for this book after I read the reviews. It seemed unique. The details were extremely interesting and I liked several quotes.
It wasn't the writing that turned me off, but the structure of the book. The time lapses were disheartening. As soon as I became invested, LaCava changed the scene. Upon rereading the description and it is a COLLECTION OF ESSAYS. That makes a lot more sense.
The description also says "Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects", but I don't necessarily see that being shown in throughout the text. Aside from a couple of objects in the beginning, there wasn't any background or emotion expressed with the objects. The narration seemed monotone and distant, which helped portray the numbness of depression, but I ended up not feeling for the author.
If you are looking for a collection of clean-cut, descriptive, well-written essays of random memories from a woman who struggled with depression in Paris, you have it. Do not expect a novel about overcoming a problem, which was my mistake.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, December 7, 2013
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To say this is a book is far too generous. It was a series of disjointed vigneettes, supposedly predicated on two themes; that she was odd and had a fascination for objects, neither of which were developed. Instead her so-called personality disorders felt like boastful self-aggrandizement, when in fact it appeared to be nothing more than thinly veiled masquerade for ordinary teenage angst.
While the author has obvious talent, by the end of the book I was only persuaded of one thing; that it was published simply because of her industry contacts and for its merits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Design, Mediocre Writing, May 7, 2013
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This review is from: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
I was so excited when I received this book. As an object, it's beautiful. Then I started to read it. She's just not a great writer, unfortunately. A mediocre talent at best, and her voice is non-existent. A memoir (or any first-person narrative) needs to have a strong, authentic, compelling voice, and she simply has not discovered hers yet. I was very disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars objects and curiosities, December 11, 2012
This review is from: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
The basics: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris is more about the objects than it is in Paris. In truth, Stephanie LaCava considers herself an outsider whether or not she's in Paris and traces her emotional history through objects.

My thoughts: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is a unique memoir. It's told in vignettes of memories and objects. Drawings are paired with lengthy footnotes in the midst of the text. Initially, it was somewhat difficult to follow these dual narratives, and shifting my focus to the footnotes detracted from LaCava's fluid prose. Truthfully, I enjoyed LaCava's writing more than the footnotes. They drawings of the objects added a rich detail, but the footnotes, while often filled with fascinating trivia, didn't have the depth of LaCava's emotional memories. About half-way through this slim volume, I took a different approach. I read each vignette in its entirety, then I went back and read each footnote in it. This strategy worked beautifully, and the objects themselves were more intriguing when taken together than when interspersed in the narrative.

The book is itself an object of curiosity. It's rare I recommend a print book over an e-text, but with An Extraordinary Theory of Objects, I would. It's a book to keep in view and observe your guests flipping through trying to figure out just what exactly it is.

The verdict: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is at its most extraordinary when LaCava shares her personal journey rather than her thoroughly researched beloved objects. Her journey and introspection were haunting and honest. Many of the vignettes would work well as a standalone, but as a whole, this book is as beguiling as Stephanie LaCava herself.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Strange, December 12, 2012
This review is from: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
What a wonderfully strange memoir! I like unique and different and a little weird so if you feel the same, you will love this book! Lacava is so refreshingly open about what she herself calls her strangeness. Most people don't like to admit anything that's different about them that the world may condemn while Lacava embraces her uniqueness. At the end of her introduction she states "Here is my story, but told in a strange way. Consider the source." I knew then this was going to be an amazing read.

As a little girl Stephanie knew that she was different but unlike most little girls, she did not care! She had a father with a mysterious job that was rarely around and a mother that loved her even if she didn't always understand her. Stephanie felt alone and isolated throughout her childhood. I think everyone feels this way at times but Stephanie coped by attaching herself to objects and they became her friends and constant companions.

While some may see her behavior as perilous, I think that allowing yourself to embrace what you feel is healthy and brave, even if it is sadness. She found happiness in the little things and had a father that encouraged her love of objects because he understood what they meant to her. What a rare and precious gift to be supported in something others consider weird. There is no greater gift than unconditional love and acceptance.

I think that the footnotes in this book fill about half of the book! There is a lot of history we learn about Paris and interesting facts about everything she writes about. I've never seen a book formatted like this. I don't know if I liked it or not but definitely found it interesting. Setting yourself apart from the millions of books out there can never be a bad thing!

I rarely say anything about the physical book itself but this one has those pages that are thick and feel like you are reading an old journal. She has interesting drawings throughout of what she is currently writing about that ad another rare element to her book.

If you are tired of reading the same types of books, pick this one up and I guarantee you never read anything like it. Lacava is strong and brave and I respect anyone who lays it all out on the table. Men and women alike will be intrigued by Stephanie's story. It would make a great Christmas gift for the reader's on your list!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, but ..., April 7, 2013
By 
kaveh (seattle, wa) - See all my reviews
I found the title & summary/description Misleading.

Nevertheless, a fine intro to an exceptional storyteller and her honest story ... Now, I want to read some of LaCava's columns!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does the "whimsy" used to describe the book stand in for "deluded", June 29, 2013
This review is from: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
There is no narrative arc, and I'm pretty sure the only reason this book got published is because the author is a NYC socialite who knew someone at the publisher. The book cover is lovely, and that's about all I can say for this empty memoir of a vapid woman. I was excited to read this, but it wasn't so much about the place, as it was about the strange objects the author collects, her eating disorders, and generalized mania. Which would be fine, and possibly compelling, if told in an entirely different manner. She bemoans the fact that her parents, who seem like lovely people, drug her to a mansion outside Paris to live during her childhood. Poor girl. Then she continues through short vignettes that make not much sense until all of a sudden, she's an adult and has returned to Paris with her future husband (maybe?) and he orders her some food in a cafe. He "gets" her. Ok. This was a book that didn't necessarily need published.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars extraordinay disappointment, March 18, 2013
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I felt like the book never ended. It was a disappointment to me because there were many things left unanswered
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good- but could have been great, March 25, 2014
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I liked the book. I can relate to the author wildly in the feelings of being an outsider even in your own life or having more of a connection to fantasy and stories or things than real people. So on that level I understood the book and I enjoyed it. As much as I have what I consider my own list of extraordinary objects I love to learn about the little things people don't really think about every day and there histories as well.
I think what it lacked to make it really great for me at least was I didn't really ever feel any kind of emotional connection from her to anything. There were a couple of things she concentrated on more but they all petered out and I think overall the relationship with her father was a big part of the book (and maybe could have been the main part) but even that didn't really go anywhere but a series of outings and wonderings about what he did for a living.
So for me it was a good read, I learned some interesting things about extraordinary objects from an author I could relate to but it could have been so much more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris, July 3, 2013
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This review is from: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
This book is interested. Just a different point of view of a young girl's childhood in France. I also keep wanted more to happen!
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An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris
An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris by Stephanie LaCava (Hardcover - December 4, 2012)
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