Dave Egger's parents died from cancer within a month of each other when he was 21 and his brother, Christopher, was seven. They left the Chicago suburb where they had grown up and moved to San Francisco. This book tells the story of their life together.Dave Egger's parents died from cancer within a month of each other when he was 21 and his brother, Christopher, was seven. They left the Chicago suburb where they had grown up and moved to San Francisco. This book tells the story of their life together.Read Less
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(I?m sure other reviewers out there have come up with much more cleverly insulting re-workings of the title, which lends itself to cleverly insulting re-workings, but I just don?t have their flair.)
I hated this book so much I wished it was sentient so I could do it physical harm. This would have been an acceptable substitute for doing Dave Eggars physical harm.
I wish I could give it zero--or negative--stars. But I guess 1 will have to suffice.
I just don't understand how a book with this basic plot--a young man who loses his parents and must care for his young brother--can be so nauseatingly awful. This is truly Eggars' greatest achievement.
I came away from [what I read of] the book with the unshakable feeling that Eggars only did about 99% of what he wrote about having done so that he could write about having done it and have it be true, so he could say it was true.
I think what got me the most, besides the mind-numbing descriptions of Eggars' magazine "work," was his painfully affected attitude of cluelessness about parenting. No matter how little experience you have, I'm pretty sure you could figure out that calling your pre-teen brother a "retard" and using frequent, R-rated swears aren't good tactics. Probably your mom impressed that upon you before she died.
All I have left to say of this book and Eggars' "talent" is, thank God your parents are dead so they were spared the embarrassment of sharing your last name, and I understand why your sister committed suicide.
Mar 17, 2008
This memoir sings. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about it. It is angry, and hopeful, and joyful, and hilarious, and touching, and wonderfully alive. I pretty much couldn't put it down. Who cares abut writerly skill and pacing and characterization, even if all these elements are solid and well deserving of the critical acclaim it has received? This book is about a gut response, not an intellectual one. Go read it.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-03-29 Dion Graham offers a stirring and, yes, heartbreaking reading of Eggers's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of assuming guardianship of his eight-year-old brother after both his parents died of cancer. Graham's reading is so honest and emotionally generous that it sounds as if he is relaying events from his own life. His pacing is well matched with the writing and varies with the shifting emotional current; the back and forth dialogues between Eggers and his brother ring true as Graham shifts his tone to capture the subtleties. Despite the often rapid-fire speed of Graham's delivery, he never stumbles and keeps the conversations believable and Egger's penchant for metafictional asides coherent. A Vintage paperback. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1999-12-13 Literary self-consciousness and technical invention mix unexpectedly in this engaging memoir by Eggers, editor of the literary magazine McSweeney's and the creator of a satiric 'zine called Might, who subverts the conventions of the memoir by questioning his memory, motivations and interpretations so thoroughly that the form itself becomes comic. Despite the layers of ironic hesitation, the reader soon discerns that the emotions informing the book are raw and, more importantly, authentic. After presenting a self-effacing set of "Rules and Suggestions for the Enjoyment of this Book" ("Actually, you might want to skip much of the middle, namely pages 209-301") and an extended, hilarious set of acknowledgments (which include an itemized account of his gross and net book advance), Eggers describes his parents' horrific deaths from cancer within a few weeks of each other during his senior year of college, and his decision to move with his eight year-old brother, Toph, from the suburbs of Chicago to Berkeley, near where his sister, Beth, lives. In California, he manages to care for Toph, work at various jobs, found Might, and even take a star turn on MTV's The Real World. While his is an amazing story, Eggers, now 29, mainly focuses on the ethics of the memoir and of his behavior--his desire to be loved because he is an orphan and admired for caring for his brother versus his fear that he is attempting to profit from his terrible experiences and that he is only sharing his pain in an attempt to dilute it. Though the book is marred by its ending--an unsuccessful parody of teenage rage against the cruel world--it will still delight admirers of structural experimentation and Gen-Xers alike. Agent, Elyse Cheney, Sanford Greenberger Assoc.; 7-city author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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