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Et Tu, Babe

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,508 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
In this fiendishly original new novel, Mark Leyner is a leather-blazer-wearing, Piranha 793-driving, narcotic-guzzling monster who has potential rivals eliminated by his bionically enhanced bodyguards, has his internal organs tattooed, and eavesdrops on the erotic fantasies of Victoria's Secret models -- which naturally revolve around him.

Leyner's jet-propelled roller derb
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 24th 1993 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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Mar 21, 2014 Steve added it
In this book, at least, Mark Leyner is a late 20th century Hennie Youngman. Who the hell is Hennie Youngman, you ask? If you aren't older than dirt, you may well ask. Monsieur Youngman was a stand up comedian whose schtick was telling an infinite number of 2- or 3-line jokes in an extremely rapid-fire manner; almost all of them were as old as he was, but there were so many that a few were funny, by accident.

Like I said, Mark Leyner is a late 20th century Hennie Youngman, at least in this book. M
Arthur Graham
Sep 04, 2016 Arthur Graham rated it it was amazing
I liked this one a lot better than My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist and a bit better than The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, but not quite as much as The Tetherballs of Bougainville, so I'm giving it 4.5 stars, rounded up because WHATEVER, MY PREROGATIVE.
M. Sarki
Jun 16, 2016 M. Sarki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Unreadable. And I do confess to being obviously ill-equipped to read this type of literature. But I respect those who do as well as those who also can find something worthwhile in their being immersed (and not believing) in wasting one's own precious time. As J.P. Klump liked to say, "It takes all kinds to fill the freeway."
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Here's your hyperbolic fun. Easier to read, more traditionally narrative, than his previous two. The televisual equivalent is Metalocalypse. Seriously.

Also important for the Leyner fan is his not-to-be-missed movie War Inc.

Books Ring Mah Bell
Oct 15, 2007 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it did not like it
Shelves: poop
ug. there was a reason this was half off in the used book section.
G. Brown
Jan 25, 2015 G. Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bizarro, favorites, comedy
This book may cause me to go back and demote all other books I've rated 5 stars to 4. That's how much I liked this book: it redefined LOVE for me.
James Griffiths
May 13, 2012 James Griffiths rated it liked it

I'm not entirely sure whether I enjoyed this. It was the first by Leyner I've read and it wasn't a good introduction to his work, I don't think. Probably the best thing about it is that it's short.
Leyner has created a parodic version of himself and the main orders of the day are megalomania and celebrity. Some of it is very, very random. The writing style goes of on a tangent and it's quite disconcerting.
Even though I knew to expect this from Leyner's writing, I don't think it worked for me.
Apr 26, 2012 David rated it really liked it
I've heard it said that this was Leyner's best, but Tetherballs is still my favorite so far. I really wish that I could rate this a 5 on language, leaps, and reflection of the modern phenomenon of popular culture and then separately rate it four on my overall impression. It really has some impressive and enjoyable aspects, but I felt I had to rate it a little lower just because I didn't grok it as much as Tetherballs and Nutsack. Still, it is marvelous writing and Leyner truly moshes to the rhyt ...more
Jan 12, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A great, fresh, funny novel with a gripping voice all its own. I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t heard of Leyner before, because his brand of absolute dry devotion to demented premise resonates really strongly with the comedy canon I identify most strongly with – think Douglas Adams, Monty Python, Firesign Theater, They Might Be Giants; not in content per se, but in finding a new way to be outlandishly silly and running with it in a way that immediately feels familiar and makes you feel a little ap ...more
Suncan Stone
A strange book, which makes you think: OK so who is this Mark guy sleeping with at Vintage? How did he get this published? What convinced them? And all of these thoughts came to me while reading the first ten pages... Then you slowly get the hang of it... It still works as a list of semi-developed ideas for a cheap almost Mike Hammer style soap opera, but at least you realise that all these fantasy notes revolve around the main character named... wait... yes, you guessed it - Mark Leyner... Some ...more
Mar 30, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Mark Leyner has a style like no other. I have seen his work labeled by others as both postmodern and cyberpunk. I'm not sure if either of these really apply, but almost all of his work makes me giddy when I read it. This book is essentially a (supposed) look into his life as a famous writer. Basically combine every story of excess that you have ever heard about William Burroughs, Hunter Thompson, and Dylan Thomas and you have a general sense of a day at the office for Mark Leyner (the character) ...more
Ben Loory
Apr 08, 2012 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
just as much fun as My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist-- in fact, maybe even more so-- but as a novel, it actually has a structure and therefore (after a while) gets somewhat, um, OKAY SO "PREDICTABLE" IS DEFINITELY NOT THE WORD... i guess it just has more of a one-note feel. but still, whatever, the guy is brilliant. though i fear he might be driving me insane.

Like ballistic war-cannoli that fly through the sky and plunge into people's mouths at incredible speeds, rigid microscopic larval creatur
Jul 28, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
A Mark Leyner sentence is a beautiful thing. It starts out like your average sentence but somewhere in the middle takes a plunge into complete lunacy. This book is filled with many, many such sentences, which when piled on top of each other comprise a very funny book.

A lazy comparison would be David Foster Wallace at his most absurd, but that would do no justice to the madness contained here. Leyner doesn't really care about exploring his characters' emotions, nor stirring yours, so the humor mi
Dec 04, 2008 G rated it liked it
Is Mark Leyner a genius or an egotist? In Et Tu, Babe, some might say he is making blood sacrifices at the Hunter S. Thompson Shrine of Self-Involvement.
The Mark Leyner of Et Tu, Babe would then simply clock them in the chops with a pool cue and satirize them into submission.

Leyner manages to capture the fever dreams of Burroughs, the sci-fi sarcasm of Vonnegut, and yes, the megalomania of Thompson in one novel. It all works startlingly well. Enter with gusto and submit to the exquisiteness of
Dec 30, 2008 Lloyd rated it it was ok
Mark Leyner seems to be torn between trying to be William S. Burroughs and Buckaroo Banzai. Using his alter ego as protagonist for his books is amusing, but does make the reader wonder if he's an egotistical bastard, or merely self-satirizing. I'm sure there are fans out there who will argue that he's poking fun at the fleeting nature of celebrity, and the ridiculous lengths to which fans will go for their heroes. They might be correct, but that still doesn't diminish the impression that he's ju ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Penelope rated it it was ok
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book.

On the one hand, it was an amusing read, pure and simple. On the other hand, it was completely lacking in plot or anything that a story "should" have. I'm not sure that this book is supposed to function like a normal story, however, which is what makes it difficult to judge. It's obviously a parody...a parody of memoir, a parody of celebrity, and parody of pop culture, and it is for these reasons that it's amusing. As a story though, it quite frankly
Nov 07, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Leyner has an extensive and wide open imagination.

Anybody can go out and get a tattoo on their body, but it takes a real man, like Mark Leyner, to have his sternum cut open and have his left ventricle inked with radioactive goo visible only on x-rays.

From killer nonagenarian bodyguards to the morning breath of Abraham Lincoln to cult leader, Mark Leyner makes this bizarro story about the worlds most influential author, Mark Leyner, leap from the page.
Dan McSweeney
Jun 20, 2011 Dan McSweeney rated it it was amazing
"If you squander your precious beautiful days on meaningless labor whose ultimate purpose is to further enrich the ruling elite or solidify the hegemony of the state ... you're a sucker." Yes, I've memorized entire sections of this book. It's one of my top ten all-time favorites. It was recommended by Matt Groenig, and Blurbed by Tom Robbins, little more need be said.
Tosh Dawson
Jan 24, 2009 Tosh Dawson rated it did not like it
I couldn't even finish this book, it was so grating. I came close, but realized three-quarters through that it wasn't getting any better. Reading it felt like I was with a date who was trying to hard to be something she wasn't, and didn't or wouldn't take my hints that that approach wasn't impressing me. Tosh
Jessica Balaschak
Jun 21, 2008 Jessica Balaschak rated it really liked it
this guy was hilarious for like five years in the mid-90s, and now for some reason, he is guest writing the fashion dos and don'ts in us weekly ("mariah carey... more like mariah scarey!!!") or some bullshit like that. it makes me sad. don't ever buy the audiobook version of this because they take out all of the swearing and the dirty parts, so it's like 15 minutes long.
Jan 19, 2016 Clelia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I finished this book feeling like I needed to read absolutely everything by Mark Leyner. I can't get enough of his self-parodying, verbose, hyperactive prose. This book was like brain candy, in the best way -- very Burroughs-esque, very self-conscious and postmodern, so very '90s. It's delightful. He is such a smart, playful writer.
Nov 01, 2010 Daniel added it
Shelves: fiction
Comfortably resting somewhere on the borderline of complete incoherence and an organized encyclopedia of pop colture jokes, "Et Tu Babe" is bibliophied decay, masked as offbeat humor. The beginning paragraph will typefy the whole novel for you, and...
Eric Denny
May 23, 2012 Eric Denny rated it really liked it
There are moments where the wackiness for its own sake disappoints, but otherwise, I recommend this for anyone interested in a hysterical first person account of a megalomaniacal writer--"the most intense, and in a certain sense, significant young prose writer in America."
Mar 25, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it
Hard to know how to even think about or talk about this book. So unique. The writing is absurd and often hilarious. Leyner's vocabulary is ridiculously broad and impressively precise - I'm glad I read this on a kindle and had immediate access to a dictionary. I think I liked it?
Mar 29, 2012 Rick rated it it was ok
Read it because the New York Times did an article on Leyner last week.
There were some funny parts, but he has centered the story on himself. Billed as a bizarre satire, I merely found it self- indulgent and bizarre.
Apr 02, 2007 regina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sedaris fans who crave harder drugs
I can't remember when I last read this, but like a junkie, I had to have more. Surreal, twisted, perceptive and completely unpredictable. That can be said for all of his books.

Think of Sedaris on peyote.
Jan 13, 2014 Jeaniecance rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
vapid, enjoyable, psychologically damaging
Colin N.
Apr 03, 2012 Colin N. rated it liked it
Weird. Revels in its own manic strangeness, which is sometimes appealing and funny, sometimes annoying.
Apr 24, 2007 Nickie rated it liked it
Loved it at the start, but got a bit worn out by the lack of narrative - it's clever in a wordy fashion though. Celebrity fact! It's Harry Hill's favourite book.
Dec 03, 2008 michel rated it it was amazing
hyper kinetic absurdist comedy. it will burn in your hands.

also, any book that has a satirical chapter about making doughnuts is worth reading.
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Mark Leyner is an American postmodernist author.

Leyner employs an intense and unconventional style in his works of fiction. His stories are generally humorous and absurd: In The Tetherballs of Bougainville, Mark's father survives a lethal injection at the hands of the New Jersey penal system, and so is freed but must live the remainder of his life in fear of being executed, at New Jersey's discret
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