Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius :: Dave Eggers

Finished Dave Eggers' highly acclaimed book, and I must say that while it was good, I was a little disappointed by the gimmicks and it was a little too long for my taste. Not because it was actually too long page-wise, but because it felt like it could have been a little tighter. I was most intrigued by his relationship with his brother, and the kind of psychology he had over having to be a parent, the guilt, his runaway imagination, the kind of neurosis he has over things. That's all great. But for the most part I didn't really like how he broke out of character sometimes as a device to psychoanalyze himself, wasn't a big fan of the Real World interview section, and didn't care about his magazine all that much. So it was up and down for me. The quality of writing is good, he has a great style, really funny at parts, heartbreaking and poignant at others (throwing out his mother's ashes? So sad yet so real) but I think some of it could have been edited with a closer hand. All in all, good, but for me, not a work of staggering genius.


moonrat said...

I totally agree--a clever writer, if a little self-aware. But seriously--about 200 pages of this book didn't need to exist.

hifidel said...

I am just about to finish this one. I agree that it is of somewhat uneven quality, though the good parts are really amazing. I have found myself laughing out loud at several points. And some of the insights, too, are really outstanding.

I didn't like the Real World interview much either. I did, however, enjoy the inclusion of reality TV as a sort of cultural critique, and the information that surfaced during the interview. The device wasn't quite my thing, but still had some redeeming points to it.

Church Lady said...

Ha! I agree with Moonrat!
I wasn't in 'awe' with it like I typically am with books. I felt like if I had the time, I could've written this. And I don't like that feeling. I want to read something so amazing, so brilliant, that no-one but the author could've done it any better.