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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Russian Debutante's Handbook
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on March 15, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Not a fan of other books by the same author, I expected to struggle through this book club choice. I was happy to find that I couldn't put it down. The strange characters, unique narration, and sudden plot twists kept me thoroughly engaged. The use of archaic and foreign vocabulary was used in a talented manner, adding to instead of distracting from the awkward endearing beauty of the novel.
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on January 7, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
good read, funny
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on October 16, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Very enjoyable
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on October 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Gary Shteyngart has an absolutely dead-on comic writing style and the Russian Debutante's Handbook is a seriously fun read. Shteyngart's seemingly effortless run-on descriptions and depiction of the Eastern European immigrant experience had me totally committed to this book for the brief amount of time I read it (could not put it down). This is a rich book which, while causing regular laughter, also strikes a chord for anyone who has rolled their eyes at their parents or wondered what life could be like if they stepped out of the normal mode. Shteyngart's wit and humor makes this a good read for those who appreciate comedy and I would recommend it highly. I would probably give it five stars except I've read his other novels and need to go somewhere from here.
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on September 26, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Smart, funny and completely engaging. Terrific characters. Can't wait to read Shteyngart's other books.
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on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I had trouble getting to the end of this book, despite the fact that I believe the author nailed it in his description of life in the early 1990's: the "starrving" students of Columbia crowd in Manhattan who were actually living off massive inherited wealth but being "hip" for the moment; the ugliness of Miami (though I have to add that there are parts of Miami and Southeast Florida in general that are beautiful and the coast itself is like a huge city of highrises crawling up the coast, which I believe he failed to convey; the altered state feeling of being on the wrong side of organized crime; and the incredible anti-semitism of Eastern Europe which has now spread to the entirety of Europe; and the Paris of the Twenties II, Prague (called for some reason Prava). Plus, although I have never been to Western Europe or Russia, I truly belief the author is accurately describing the incredible tackiness and general awfulness of that whole area.

But the book comes across as being just a little too consistently sarcastic. The author is relentless is trying to get a laugh and only hits the mark about 5 percent of the time. The plot is a little too outlandish to be real or relate to. I had to force myself to get to the end.
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on September 21, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great - thanks!
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on September 19, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Trying too hard. Not nearly as funny as I expected.
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on August 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It was recommended to me by a coworker, but I could not get through 2nd chapter. I will try again when I have nothing else to read.
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on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A quick easy read that you will have no idea where it will end. I fell for the fictional town and country, even tried to look it up. Made the book even more fun. I will definitely read more by Gary Shteyngart.
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