[Ebook] A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius By Dave Eggers – Loans-2006.info
look it s cool to hate on dave eggers it s so cool to be post dave eggers, and talk about how you didn t really like this book all that much, and it s even cooler to totally hate this book it s like a coolness interview question did you like his book yeah, I really did well, we can t be friends with you this is just like those hipsters who don t like justin timberlake fuck you, hipsters that new album is solid gold.I loved this book I loved it, and I still love it I wish to god I had sent away for the optional large scale flow chart at one point in my life, I had several several copies of this book, and I gave them away and lent them out and now I have none one of those copies was practically destroyed with the underlining and highlighting and dog earing of pages I practiced on it I wish to god I still had that one.and listen, cool kids deep in the uncool heart of you, you loved it too so step off. as a huge douglas coupland fan, i thought i might enjoy a heartbreaking work i should ve known better i tried to read you shall know our velocity last year and found it entirely unreadable i gave up after 200 pages of nonsense several friends raved about ahwoasg, so i thought, ok, i ll give eggars another try again, i was horribly disappointed the pros yes, it s funny at times and very honest though can we take eggars at his word never trust an autobiography i laughed out loud several times while reading many of eggars observations are insightful and funny and yes, we do feel badly for dave and toph at least in the beginning and the the sibs after they lose their parents and head west the here s a drawing of a stapler was a good one, but the novel is short on humor and long on look at me and feel badly for me and my poor little brother in the end i just didn t care, nor did i have any reason TO care narcissists don t necessarily make compelling protagonists the cons 500 pages of psychobabble, witticisms, and biting obseravtions don t necessarily make one a talented writer, as so many have stated get an editor, for crying out loud the prose isn t anything write home about it s sloppy and unfocused and what s the dropping the f bomb 20 times per page get a thesaurus while you re at it read eggars and then read steinbeck, eugenides, or ishiguro and you ll see the masters at work this novel is so completely self indulgent and bloated that i kept looking for a needle under my bed to pop the darn thing eggars tries WAY too hard to show how clever he is by using his oh so ironic hipster slang , but he s not as clever as he wants to believe unless he s playing us all if that s case, i would applaud him in short, it has it s funny moments, but so did my grandma s funeral i m just glad i bought it used. Fuck Fuck fuck fuck fuck I was reading this book and around page 237 or was it 327 fuck , I figured it out he s talking to ME He wrote this book for me Dave Eggers looked into the future and saw that I would want to read a self referential, self satisfying memoir He knew that I would be trying to figure stuff, being in my twenties and all, and while not dealing with the enormity of losing both parents and having to rear a young sibling, I would have my own shit to work through He fucking knew But why not just make it obvious Why not dedicate the book to me Or send me a note, an email even Hey Karina I know we ve never met but I know that this book could really help you out Love, Dave Maybe love is too much Sincerely, and wishing you the best, Dave Ok, even a modest Sincerely would have been adequate But I think I know why he didn t do that He wanted to mess with me WANTED to He wanted me have that revelation on my own I would thank him, but honestly, I didn t like the book No, I didn t HATE the book If I had HATED the book, I would have given it one star, right But for all the hype, it really was very frustrating I even started skimming by the end Hey, maybe you ve even started skimming this review That s ok I understand I just didn t need to hear any of his selfish, whining, complaining, navel gazing, cutseyness sometimes It was too much And by the end I was really kinda hating him Which I think is something he would have been ok with, expecting even It was too cute, too overdone, needed to be edited, cut in half The stuff about his mother in the beginning was beautiful, because it felt sincere ok, maybe that is his schtick an insincere memoir, hiding behind a supposed stance of openness and sharing well, screw that That isn t why I read that kind of book So bugger off Eggers and don t write any books for me, ok I disliked so very much about this book The grating self awareness, the oh I m so clever stream of consciousness asides, the indescribably tedious discussion of his magazine work But the heart of the book, the story of Eggers and his young brother trying to be each other s whole family after the death of their parents, is genuinely sad and funny all at once, a difficult feat to accomplish I wish he d stuck to telling that story instead of trying so hard to make me think he s a staggering genius This book made me realize how much I resent authors playing around with style before they ve proved to me that they can just tell a sory in an effective way I just want to say, You re not too smart for traditional prose if, say, Jane Austen isn t If you have something to say, say it Impress me with your grasp of language, not your ability to posture. When You Read His Extraordinary Memoir You Don T Laugh, Then Cry, Then Laugh Again You Somehow Experience These Emotions All At Once Well, This Was When Bill Was Sighing A Lot He Had Decided That After Our Parents Died He Just Didn T Want Any Fighting Between What Was Left Of Us He Was Twenty Four, Beth Was Twenty Three, I Was Twenty One, Toph Was Eight, And All Of Us Were So Tried Already, From That Winter So When Something Would Come Up, Any Little Thing, Some Bill To Pay Or Decision To Make, He Would Just Sigh, His Eyes Tired, His Mouth In A Sorry Kind Of Smile But Beth And IJesus, We Were Fighting With Everyone, Anyone, Each Other, With Strangers At Bars, Anywhere We Were Angry People Wanting To Exact Revenge We Came To California And We Wanted Everything, Would Take What Was Ours, Anything Within Reach And I Decided That Little Toph And I, He With His Backward Hat And Long Hair, Living Together In Our Little House In Berkeley, Would Be World Destroyers We Inherited Each Other And, We Felt, A Responsibility To Reinvent Everything, To Scoff And Re Create And Drive Fast While Singing Loudly And Pounding The Windows It Was A Hopeless Sort Of Exhilaration, A Kind Of Arrogance Born Of Fatalism, I Guess, Of The Feeling That If You Could Lose A Couple Of Parents In A Month, Then Basically Anything Could Happen, At Any Time All Bullets Bear Your Name, All Cars Are There To Crush You, Any Balcony Could Give Way Disaster Seemed Only Logical And Then, As In Dorothy S Dream, All These People I Grew Up With Were There, Too, Some Of Them Orphans Also, Most But Not All Of Us Believing That What We Had Been Given Was Extraordinary, That It Was Time To Tear Or Break Down, Ruin, Remake, Take And Devour This Was San Francisco, You Know, And Everyone Had Some Dumb Idea I Mean, Wicca And No One There Would Tell You Yours Was Doomed Thus The Public Nudity, And This Ridiculous Magazine, And The Real World Tryout, All This Need, Most Of It Disguised By Sneering, But All Driven By A Hyper Awareness Of This Window, I Guess, A Few Years When Your Muscles Are Taut, Coiled Up And Vibrating But What To Do With The Energy I Mean, When We Drive, Toph And I, And We Drive Past People, Standing On Top Of All These Hills, Part Of Me Wants To Stop The Car And Turn Up The Radio And Have Us All Dance In Formation, And Part Of Me Wants To Run Them All Over Well, this was an uphill struggle Such dense writing, about nothing important paragraphs and paragraphs of random crap, like throwing a frisbee, or whether or not he will sleep with a girl and then being unsure what actually occurred afterwards I m baffled that Eggers managed to drag this out for just under 500 pages There is no feeling, I didn t connect with any of the characters, they were so two dimensional Just a timeline of his life bringing up his brother after his parents died Moving from house to house, the paperwork he forgets, the difficulty of juggling his social life with the raising of a dependent But the writing was just so tedious, so bulky, I didn t like it, skimmed a lot and just generally felt like I d wasted my time I liked the premise, just not the execution. I hated loved was totally frustrated by was sucked into couldn t stand couldn t put down dreaded picking up wanted to like was attacked by wanted to burn finished this book.Alternative title A Self Indulgent Work of Festering GeniusThe worst book I couldn t put down the best book I ve ever wanted to set on fire.Updated Found in my bedside reading journal it s self conscious pretentious, but pretentious in the way that smart kids are when they re trying to be cool but are still riled up by grammatical slips etc betrayed by their own proclivities I had problems with Dave Eggers for a long time Having never read a word he d written, I immaturely thought I had every right to hate him He was young, successful, and adored by critics That was enough right there When it first came out, I would see AHWOSG in the bookstore and grimace at it than once, I even gave it the evil eye My loathing was out of sheer jealousy I recognized it as such back then, but still carried on It s hard to let go of things sometimes.OK Fast forward three or four years I still have a lot of pent up animosity for those writers who are so far ahead of me However, this fear, thinly cloaked as a juicy eccentricity has dissipated a great deal upon reading Eggers triumphant, naked, brutally pure and dramatically veracious window into a life bereft of normalcy.What is normalcy Nobody knows and quite frankly, nobody should care , but I ll tell you what it s not having to deal with the death of both your parents within mere months of each other That just doesn t happen to people On the rare and awful occassions when it does, the children involved are devastated It happened to Eggers and his siblings When his mother died, he was left to share custody of his younger brother Toph Still just a child, Toph grew up under the sometimes bizarre, always concerned eye of his older brother Dave.The center of AHWOSG is truly the great and hilarious relationship Eggers has with Toph To try to describe how they both grew up together in the strange and bumpy post parental freedom for all with strict rules of obtaining said freedom would be detrimental to the experiences you can have in Eggers world So we won t venture further Rest assured, there s a seal tight bond there, one few can probably relate to.Smirking just on the borders of the author s fatherly brotherly friendly loving do right for the little jerk attitude is the fully aware of everything that is and is not persona that he is constantly invoking and daring to take him just one step further just to the brink just to push him off His emotions are bloody rare, like a T Bone rippling with E coli His running, inner monologue and occasional tabooed thoughts are cut from his heart with a dull spork and served to the reader la mode as if the sweet, cold vanilla sub thought could lighten the mood It does And his words never fail to render a heartbreaking, poetic, screaming justice for his soul.I ate it up I wanted I swallowed my jealousy and loved it. A very fine book, but tied closely with its period, so a bit dated I suppose the publisher will be foot noting it before too long I m going to have to read that really long, really serious P ter N das novel afterward, for AHWOSG is far too hysterical Excessive hysteria pushed past all reasonable thresholds of human tolerance into the realm of whistling past the graveyard I think it s the twentysomething prospect of near continuous coitus that s to blame, making the text at times almost a giddy stream of consciousness Yes, sex, and the subsequent sadness that visits all animals see Galen , is effervescently behind the unrelenting half grimacing hysteria here, the flopsweaty feigned cool Everyone is a walking talking cut of meat, under constant appraisal, marked up or down accordingly Every waking moment, my God, the pressure to be hotThen our narrator and his friend are fucking on a public beach at night Some Hispanic kids come up The lovers are virtually naked The passersby are needlessly cruel as only youngsters can be It s as if they can t turn away from this spectacle of sex It holds them in thrall They know they should move away but they don t Then our narrator makes things worse by threatening to call the cops He can t find his wallet, which belonged his late father N.B The kids don t have it He doesn t hesitate to tell them of the disadvantage they will be at when the police arrive It s ugly, but riveting Also repugnant is the narrator blaming his friend, John, who tries to commit what is admittedly a ridiculous attempt at suicide His empathy fails Eggers seems on my a pace here to outdo Will Self s not infrequently humiliating cruelty Like Self, Eggers will go to almost any length to outrage the reader in the name of entertainment And Eggers knows this, pulls the cruelty in for a post modernist textual query every now and then, in which his shame is poked and prodded as a means of self absolution But he upbraids himself for this, too He really doesn t let himself off the hook easily Everything, you might say, no matter the cost, is bought and paid for.The narrator s guilty and brilliant digressions, when he s taken a little time out for himself, must be of the book When for instance he leaves T pf with a new sitter and goes out seeking sex His imaginings of what might happen to T ph in his absence are grotesque and wild It s touching because he s 22, beginning his sexually active life, and divided between that travail and what remains of his family The nonsense associated with his fly by night magazine, Might, is hilarious especially the Adam Rich faux obit whose ramifications neither the undead nor the editors were prepared to handle Then there s T ph who, with the narrator s canny last second maneuvering, gets a handshake from Bill Clinton outside Chez Panisse The narrator passing a kidney stone Have you ever seen one of those things They look like jacks or perhaps a barb cut from barbed wire Poor man But the frisbee playing there I drew the line 35 pages on frisbee tricks I think not Anyway, the prose flies faultlessly along Even the parts that are too long, like the MTV interview, which is a wonderful critique of the show s clich s, but at 54 pages egregiously long This is Generation X s On the Road, but with name brands and well known movies and historical events peppered throughout Reading it 17 years after publication it feels like a kind of period novel, not unlike Saul Bellow s Humboldt s Gift, but without the big picture view of geopolitical and celebrity shenanigans That s high praise.What strikes me most is Eggers s recognition of his subject matter That was very shrewd indeed To know he had this story before him The parental deaths are horrible, no question, and the pressure on the author to be a kind of pre parent at age 22 to his brother T ph is unfair Fortunately, he and his brother were blessed by an enormously rich social network That s a gift In that sense I envy them That, if anything, was their saving grace. Clearly, this is a polarizing book All I ll add is that the first time I read it, sometime in the middle of college, I had all of the negative reactions I ve read here It was sometimes funny, and sad and beautiful and all that, but mostly it was an autobiography by an asshole who was full of himself and I just didn t see why I should care, why I should keep reading And then I read it again a few years later And I don t really know what happened in between exactly Maybe I became friends with assholes Maybe I became of an asshole myself But I really loved it the second time By the end, I was feeling the kind of exhilaration and momentum that I ve only gotten from a handful of books ever The other interesting thing is, I had this exact same series of reactions with Catcher in the Rye Granted, I read that way too early Like, 8th or 9th grade But still, same reaction So, maybe give it another try in a few years if you re so inclined Also, I m kind of okay with Dave Eggers being a bit of an egotistical asshole Honestly, I think that he delivers enough that I don t really care what kind of guy he is Yeah, the McSweeney s empire has probably been overhyped, and I won t go into that here, but I don t think that most of the attention he s gotten has been unjustified At the very least, I think that he s trying to get people to read and write I m not sure how successful he s been, but the goal is noble and rare and I approve.