71st out of 77 books — 74 voters
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Nothing is Terrible
Matthew Sharpe's debut collection, Stories from the Tube, was praised in the Los Angeles Times Book Review for its "wildly effective-and often touching-collisions of the banal and the surreal." Wiredcalled it "unsettling, lovely, creepy"; Forbes FYI heralded it as a "remarkable fiction debut." In Nothing Is Terrible, his first novel, Sharpe astonishes once again with the h ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published February 22nd 2000 by Villard
(first published 2000)
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"Nothing Is Terrible," except this book. Rare tiny bits of sense are mixed in with so much insensible dreck, it's like trying to sip a glassful of champagne that's been dispersed in a vat of motor oil. Matthew Sharpe shows some facility of quirkiness with words but the content is so annoying that you just don't care. It wants to be clever like "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" or "Running With Scissors" but fails utterly.
This book is awful. It takes emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sex abuse (all aimed at a child) and contorts them into a "good" thing. It's just pages and pages of awfulness until the end, when it's implied that the trauma just continues on. It's well-written, but too disturbing for that to make up for any of it. It's not uplifting, it's not enlightening. It's just dark, twisted, and sad.
The title of this book is ironic, considering how terrible this book is from beginning to end. It starts by ripping off the movie, "My Girl", and gets worse from that point. I kept hoping it would get better, but I couldn't wait for it to end. I wish there was a way to refund myself for the time I wasted.
One of the most bizarre books I have ever read. I found it bizarre for bizarre's sake and incredibly disturbing. I ended up skimming parts of it because if I wasn't disturbed, then I was bored. If you are disturbed by child sexual abuse, don't read it. Had I known I would have never bought it.
Matthew Sharpe (born 1962) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Born in New York City, but grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Sharpe graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio. Afterwards, he worked at US Magazine until he went back to school at Columbia University, where he pursued an MFA. Since then, he has been teaching creative writing at various institutions including Columbia Universi ...moreMore about Matthew Sharpe...
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“I don't want to think anymore. Thinking prevents you from living.”
“Then came that sigh. I wish I had had a tape recorder handy every time in my life that I heard a boy sigh at the outset of urination. What a lovely sound. So much satisfaction. Girls sigh far less often before they pee, and not with the same devotion, I think. If only I had such a recording of boys' sighs. I would lie on a pillow in the sunlight of the late afternoon, sometimes listening to Chopin, sometimes Schubert, and sometimes to the sighs, seriatim, of all the boys about to pee.”More quotes…