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Life As a Loser Paperback – May 15, 2005
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About the Author
Will Leitch has written for The Sporting News, The New York Times, and other national publications. He currently co-edits the Web site Blacktable.com
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My thoughts: this book was pretty funny, but if not an out-and-out knee slapper, it was the type of book that drags you into the characters so that the smaller things become funnier as you become more familiar. I'd recommend it to anyone, and I've read Sedaris and Hornby too. And if those bad reviews weren't from someone with a vendetta, I'm wondering where they learned to read.
First, let's get the title out of the way: Leitch is not a loser in the sense you might think. From reading his book you know he's had succses with the ladies, you know he has scores of friends, you know he has worked at the New York Times. But Leitch calls himself a loser because of the inner workings of his mind. We learn of his neuroses, his loving but over-analyzed relationships with his family, and most of all the insecure way Leitch goes through life wondering if other people think he's a loser. But most of all, we laugh. In fact, when reading Leitch I usually laugh twice at each episode of his crazy life -- first with him, then at him.
Leitch is part Andy Rooney, part Dave Barry, part Roger Ebert, part Dave Eggers, part Jane Austen. When he discusses his love of sports, you'll think he's a typical man's man, but when he discusses his obsession with his weight, you'll think he's a girlie-man. He'll never stop surprising you.
Leitch's writing is a breezy read, but it's also touching when he tells us something he's passionate about. No bookshelf is complete without his work.
Will Leitch does that with his own life. He uses a column instead of a camera, and while his life probably isn't as interesting as your life, it's pretty close.
I enjoyed following along the episodes in his life, usually with way too much drama and trauma, but always with a voice full of empathy and honesty.
I don't want to play spoiler, but if you've ever watched a game show and wondered "what would happen if the guest literally fell apart during this show, divulging that he broke off his engagement 12 hours earlier (read: was dumped) and allowed the caustic host to rip into his emotionally exposed hide between trivia questions" -- then this is the book for you.
Life as a Loser appeals to the voyeur and the "unique individual" in all of us. In one sense it is like finding someone's journal and reading it- learning all about some of their inner workings. On the other hand, many of us twenty-somethings can identify with the trials and tribulations of Will. Though we may not all share the exact same story- the themes and the feelings are the same.
The book won't save any lives or answer any questions- but it just may bring a bit of comfort letting you know that life can be really screwed up and that you aren't the only one in the world who can't understand why "all this is happening to you."
Will Leitch's stories range from the very familiar to the very strange. He's a fantastic story-teller and this book proves it.
Perfect for thirtysomethings with no direction, twentysomethings waiting for things to get better, college students excited about the bright, shiny future and all of their parents who have no clue what the world is really like these days. Will Leitch tells the story for all of us.
A great gift for yourself or the loser in your life.