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Customer Review

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sexy, smart, provocative book, October 6, 2012
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This review is from: In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays (Hardcover)
Amazon `asked' me if Katie's book "met my expectations"; and also "invited" me to review it. I wasn't going to because I like Katie Roiphe and mostly like her perspective, and the topics - Old men writers; Female writers; Uptown, downtown, & backstreet columnists; Young, whiney/wimpy/angry, male writers; Sex (the act of); Parenting; Social media; and The Internet - she chooses to write about. I also find her funny --her wit, such as she displays in the essay "The Angry Commenter," where she suspects that what the "troll" is most angry about is that the writer can write, has an outlet, is read, makes some money, and maybe mostly, that the writer can think. I also like her voice in the last three essays when she uses the first person "I." Which brings me to what I don't like. I don't like when she uses the plural voice "we," and the pompous one "one," as in "One wonders ... ." Who's we? Fans of Katie Roiphe? Okay, I'm all in. She is a sexy, cock-eyed, smart, provocative writer.

But doesn't she really mean I (as in her) wonder? And she is way too caught up in her own world of academia i/r/t her word choices. AND finally, she doesn't sign off the essays with the date when she wrote them, so there is no context. Things change very, very, rapidly today. It would be helpful to know when, exactly, she thought what she thought. Just in case she changes her mind.

One more thing: Roiphe seems to have a yearning for her mother's time - the literature as well as the behaviors. She seems to think that life was more carefree then, and that people today are far too uptight. I have step-daughters her age and a millennium son, and I, myself, am a Boomer with a messy life; and so I feel qualified to comment - It wasn't all that great and there was a price to pay for all that `fun.' As evidence I suggest she read Jane Leavy's The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood. It's a sad story - what all that fun can do to a man. In addition, there is the social and psychological `trickle down' of unintended consequences, which may go a long way towards explaining many of her complaints. But all in all, I liked this book a lot. I like Ms. Katie Roiphe and the way she thinks about things, and will definitely read whatever she writes in the future. She has something to say that is original, thought provoking, often funny, and I find myself often in agreement with her point of view, which is uncommon.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 16, 2012 6:18:02 AM PDT
GreenMatt says:
This review has more complaints than praise, and yet the reviewer gave the book 5 stars. What gives?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 12:11:34 PM PST
It's called "critical thinking" not complaining.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 12:41:18 PM PST
GreenMatt says:
"Critical thinking", as it is usually used, doesn't really apply here. However, if you prefer the term "criticism" to "complaint" - with the understanding that said criticism is negative - fine.

I stand by what I said: Most of what was said in this review about this book was negative, and yet the reviewer gave it a 5 star rating. Granted, the reviewer practically glows with admiration of the author - from what I gather due to previous work by the author; however, that does not make this is a great book. It seems the reviewer is so smitten with the author that they couldn't bring themselves to give the work anything less than the highest rating, in spite of finding several shortcomings.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 12:48:58 PM PST
I disagree, and again state the review's author is providing a balanced critique of the work, but nowadays if one doesn't fall over in total awe (or in the theater provide a standing ovation to *everything*), one is labeled "negative" or "complaining." Careful reading of the review reveals he admires much in the author's style in this particular volume. The following three observations are particular shortcomings/suggestions for improvement on a book the author already clearly stated he liked very much. That is not a list of complaints or a list of negatives. It is a general and strong endorsement of a book with some deficiencies the review's author noted. *Critical thinking* - not negativity - and very rare in Amazon book reviews.
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Location: Westminster, Colorado

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