Customer Review

337 of 403 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way too cool for me, February 16, 2007
This review is from: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Paperback)
Maybe I'm just too old. Maybe I'm just not cool or hip enough. It has to be me, right? After all, this book was a book of the year according to the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today among others. But I found it unreadable. Really. Sixty pages into this book and I wanted to just give up on it. Both of Eggers' parents died of cancer within a few months of each other and this is his memoir of their death and his raising of his younger brother. It actually starts off OK but fairly early in the book Eggers runs out of things to say. This probably could have been a good short story but at over 400 pages it just drags on and on endlessly.

Even the writing style is annoying as he writes these long, boring run on sentences that go on to discuss how he and his brother are the coolest people on the planet and how he can throw a Frisbee higher and farther than anyone which the San Francisco Chronicle thinks is the Zen of Frisbee but that I think it is just attempting to write stream of consciousness sort of like you are James Joyce but Joyce took years to write Ulysses and the paragraphs here read like they were written in an afternoon after a couple of beers while Oprah's playing in the background and you really wish that you were back in the car driving to the nude beach because hanging out with your brother is a lot more fun than writing a book even if you know that people are going to spend their money to read it but you did warn them in the preface so if they are bored beyond tears then too bad because they were warned and so they really have no right to complain about the dreary and pointless paragraphs about imagining that your brother is killed in some insanely tragic way like being run over by a van in slow motion or the uninspired complaints about neighbors or women at the little league games or any of the other dull, lackluster, pedestrian, spiritless, and unimaginative paragraphs that grace this tedious book.

Anyway, I am sure you are much cooler than I am so you will love this book so don't pay any attention to this review and go out and buy the book and be fascinated by stories of warehouses and starting magazines and excrement coming out of backed up toilets and meeting Bill Clinton and wanting to kill people because they don't treat you and your brother like the horrible tragic victims of the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone because God knows that no one has ever lost their parents before and that no one has suffered as much tragedy as you and your family so writing a memoir and whining for 400 pages makes perfect sense and this reviewer is just a big jerk who doesn't get it.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 82 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 2, 2007 7:23:32 PM PST
Oh geez. If you didn't like the book, just say so. I am sure that there are plenty out there who would say that anyone who didn't love the book didn't "get it" but preemptively defending yourself against such statements by generalizing anyone who does and might like the book in such a condescending manner really seems to defeat the purpose and make you sound just as smug as the people you may be defending yourself against. However, I loved the middle paragraph of your review, despite the fact that I did, in general, like the book. (And I am aware that since I am apparently too cool for you I shouldn't have admitted that and shall now suffer incredible social stigma amongst my peers. Alas.)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2007 9:12:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2007 10:34:34 AM PST
Thomas Paul says:
First off, Jeana, thank you for your comment, I have written 154 reviews and yours is the very first! My wife's cousin also liked the book and she was the one who recommended it to me. Clearly, you and Tina are much cooler than I am. And I think that is my point. All these big name newspapers liked the book and all these big name reviewers liked the book, but I'm hopelessly too dull to appreciate it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2007 2:50:57 PM PDT
That was bloody hilarious, esp the Oprah in the background bit.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2007 8:40:42 AM PDT
Thomas Paul says:
Thanks Susanne! Glad you enjoyed it.

Posted on Mar 28, 2007 1:28:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2007 1:29:16 PM PDT EVER!!! It was not just a mediocre book. It was a mediocre book that was declared excellent by the intelligencia.

Posted on Apr 1, 2007 10:42:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2007 10:44:02 PM PDT
Teren says:
Brilliant review! I was going to write a review - my first - because I was so utterly amazed by the accolades this work has received. Then I read your review; no need to repeat what has already been cleverly presented.

It does seem that this book is a literary parallel to the unreal "reality television" currently so popular. So perhaps not finding Egger's work brilliant is not a lack of cool, but simply not being enthralled and amused by other people's problems when mixed with heavy doses of self indugence.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2007 7:32:28 PM PDT
Thomas Paul says:
Thank you Aaron and Top Eight!

Posted on Apr 9, 2007 11:08:19 PM PDT
DominEl says:
Wellll, at least he used commas in his run-on sentences.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2007 6:25:58 PM PDT
Thomas Paul says:
I am quite sure that Mr. Eggers was paid for his work for his excellent use of commas.

Posted on Jul 12, 2007 3:48:05 PM PDT
Ciel Arcana says:
Despite your dislike of the book, I must give you a thumbs up for the third paragraph. I know the media is getting cloudy in their book preferences, but understand that younger audiences have a different taste in comparison to older audiences. There's nothing more appreciative than a 92 year old jumping up and down with a smile across the face, listening to an iPod and reading books for fun, not angst. I'm 22 years old and I truly enjoyed the book, which was, honestly, not too conservative, but rather liberal in its own way.
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Thomas Paul

Location: Plainview, NY USA

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