Friday, December 16, 2011

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I couldn't help but use the above photo to represent this book because it's exactly how I felt about it.  Oh how I loved the beginning of this book.  It starts out as the story of a twenty-something who ends up having to raise his young brother after both their parents die within weeks of one another.  A great premise - one that I'll borrow thank you very much - and the first hundred or so pages are really quite wonderful.  But then as the book moves along it starts to become a lot more about Eggers and his desire to start his own magazine and how that will work, he tries to get on The Real World San Francisco, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I don't care about because what I really truly cared about in this book was the story of the family, and so whenever that was absent, so was I.  There's a lot of really fun self-referential stuff going on in the style of the book, but my problem is that as he's mocking himself for being a tad pretentious, he comes off as absolutely pretentious in such a bizarre way.  I absolutely loved the first half of this book and absolutely had to force myself to continue through-out it's second half.  Don't get me wrong, Eggers is a talented writer, he's able to keep you going and the man knows how to turn a phrase, but this book lacks focus and it's poorer for it, which is a shame since it's first half shows such promise.  It's a hard one for me to recommend to be honest, but I wouldn't tell you not to read it should you be interested.  How's that for being slightly passive-aggressive?

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