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Apathy and Other Small Victories

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,910 Ratings  ·  659 Reviews
The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist.

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 06, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Michael
Shelves: fiction-adult
This is the kind of book for people who like their humor like they like their coffee: black with just a twinge of a bitter aftertaste. In fact, the story that's being told here has a lot in common with caffeine: you suspect that it's not really good for you, but it provides you with a satisfying fix. In this case, the "fix" is a good dose of schadenfreude, or maybe just the vicarious satisfaction of observing other people behaving badly. Basically Apathy is a jaunt through total nihilism. The pl ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Kristen rated it it was amazing
This book, so far, is so damn funny I was actually roaring with laughter. To be sure, it's not the most politically correct humor, but it really is terribly funny. I'm not even sure I'm through the first chapter and I kept having to put the book down and laugh and wipe my eyes. It's the kind of read that you wish someone was there with you so you could read it out loud to them and make them laugh, too. It's the kind of funny that when you're TRYING to read it out loud you almost can't, because y ...more
David Katzman
May 16, 2012 David Katzman rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Office Space, Clerks, and ironic humor
Well. I must admit … I have felt rather apathetic about writing this review. I know, I know, obvious joke. But the odd thing is, it’s true. And it’s not that I didn’t enjoy Apathy. I certainly did. Despite the fact that it’s one of the worst book titles I’ve ever read. Is the sequel going to be called Meh? Followed up by Not So Much and Whatevs?

The story itself is a twisted version of Office Space. The main character, Shane, is a slacker who lands a temp job he doesn’t want at the insurance comp
Oct 24, 2008 Mona rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Someone left this book on the plane and I thought it was going to be sociological study. So glad I was wrong. Funny as hell and oh so politically incorrect. I had tears in my eyes from cracking up so hard. I made my dad read it and he thinks I'm weird now but liked it too.
Oct 30, 2010 Charles rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: me
I started reading this book when a 16 year-old student gave it to me. I didn’t get past page 2 until summer, though I liked it a lot. Once summer hit, I read 50 pages in one sitting and laughed convulsively the whole way through. After another 50, I decided to set it aside for my trip to the beach next week because I wanted something really good to read. It’s the hysterical 1st person narrative of a really messed up apathetic twenty something whose bizarre sense of humor and way of looking at th ...more
Livius Nedin
Aug 11, 2009 Livius Nedin rated it it was amazing
Another reread here. Apathy is quite possibly the funniest book I've ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor. The unlikely hero of the novel becomes unwittingly involved in a murder investigation as it's prime suspect.

Stolen salt shakers, deaf folk karaoke and hours in a bathroom stall...if only life were this much fun.

WARNING: People do tend to look at you funny when you bust out laughing reading this book.
Sep 05, 2014 Wendle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendle by: Daniel
This book in one word? Hilarious. I was hooked from the first paragraph when Shane, the first person narrator, talks about stealing salt shakers and waking up in bed covered in salt. Every page made me smile, snort, chortle, giggle, cackle and, on more than a few occasions, lose control of my breathing.

For someone so indifferent, Shane paints a vivid and all too accurate picture of the world and people around him. He doesn’t judge positively or negatively (much), he simply observes.

I genuinely l
Franco  Santos
I was stealing salt shakers again. Ten, sometimes twelve a night, shoving them up my sleeves, smuggling them out of bars and diners and anywhere else I could find them. In the morning, wherever I woke up, I was always covered in salt. I was cured meat. I had become beef jerky. Even as a small child, I knew it would one day come to this.

Oficialmente no estoy teniendo una buena racha...
Jul 20, 2014 Luis rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
“Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.”

If a person is talking about his happiness and trying to impose it on you, and if you find yourself sharing the same fleeting feeling, then you know he's good at what he's doing.

Shane's apathy is contagious. I was apathetic about the whole damned story the whole time myself. That's how I know Apathy succeeds at what it's trying to do and tell.

Basically, it's about an apathetic person trying to do senseless things for a s
Jun 23, 2011 Dean rated it liked it
I'm just not sure...and neither is the author.
Look, this book has some funny moments even some laugh out loud moments, but it does not go anywhere near that which it is trying to reach.
Looking past apathy and teetering on nihilism and then contradicting itself by showing the "protagonist" actually is muddy and lacks substance. It seemed like the author was simply trying to create a compendium of memorable lines without anything to really tie them together so he wrote a "story" and ga
Jun 08, 2012 Howl rated it it was ok
I saw this one on the shelf at a place I was staying for a week, and decided to give it a try. It was time that would probably have been better spent reading The Gun Seller, or Flashman, or any of the other books I'd brought with me.

I wasn't really expecting anything (I really mean that; I wasn't expecting it to be good or bad. I was devoid of expectations). It started off okay, with the 'protagonist' Shane lying in bed with a bunch of salt shakers (Shane's habit of stealing salt shakers, which
Travis Rockwell
Dec 04, 2015 Travis Rockwell rated it liked it
This is for those with a crude sense of humour, and politicly incorrect.
I found myself laughing out loud from start to finish. Shane, a 28 year old oddball cares for nothing and no one! For a man self proclaiming Apathy he sure does tend to overthink every little thing that happens to him. He is arrogant toward everyone and everything around him, he just wants to get by unnoticed and do as little as possible in everyday life. Shane finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation, in which
Mar 14, 2008 Amy rated it it was ok
Hmm. I hope this author doesn't continue this theme and write a book called Boredom... The guy working the Phoenix airport Borders was pretty convinced that this book was Pure Genius and that I would love it. How Wrong He Was.

I kept hoping the main character would get hit by a truck or something. That wouldn't be "apathy" though would it? The sign language bit was a nice touch but not quite enough to jolt me into enjoying this.
Mar 19, 2011 Rachel rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011
This was one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. I'd rather read all the Twilight books twice AND see all the movies before ever reading this again one time. The figure on the cover holding a gun to his head? That's how I felt the whole time I was reading this book full of rhino diarrhea.
Jan 27, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing
Incredibly funny, there were times that my wife would stop and roll her eyes at my laughing at this stupid book. I think I should probably add that I have had a few too many beers while writing this review, so I might make it sound like it's the the best novel I have ever read.
The main character, Shane, is very likable, the interaction with him, and every character seem so real, and natural. True dialogue, and thought behind the dialogue.
If you're a visual reader like myself, expect about 5
TJ Mayes
Jan 30, 2013 TJ Mayes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find novels targeted at cynical twentysomething males, so I had high hopes for Neilan's first book. The plot is difficult to explain, but Neilan's site sums it up better than I could:

"It's about one man's desperate fight to assign absolutely no meaning to modern life. It's also about sleeping in the bathroom at work, getting framed for a deaf lady's murder, and how it feels to get beat up by a girl."

The narrative was a little forced, but there were four
Chloe Williams
Sep 30, 2011 Chloe Williams rated it really liked it
When I first saw Apathy and Other Small Victories I was drawn in by the cover, sparked by further interest I decided to go ahead and read the first couple of pages. Immediately, I was confused. The book starts off rather abruptly and most of the book continues along the same path. Which would usually make me set the book back down and carry on with my life, but I couldn't help but wonder what it was the author was trying to tell me. What was going on? Why was some man, Shane, being awoken to cop ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Laurie rated it did not like it
I will be upfront: I hated this book like I haven't hated a book in a really long time. Do not read the rest of this unless you feel like reading a lot of complaining.

This is the story of Shane. He goes to the dentist a lot. He hates his corporate job. He drinks and steals salt shakers. He is accused of a murder. The end.

How did the preceding really pass for a plot when the publisher read this book? Honestly, NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS. The most interesting element of this novel was the murder inves
May 26, 2009 Mick rated it liked it
Memo to Paul:

When writing a book, it is fundamentally essential for the author to make his/her protagonist at least superficially likeable--or interesting. No need to thank me.

Reading APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES is akin to swallowing air. Nada. Granted, Neilan's bizarre musings make for some eyebrow-raising passages, and much of the story is funny, but at the end of the day I walked away from this book feeling completely underwhelmed. A story about a chronic underachiever who cares about
Apr 04, 2008 Hollyjo11883 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Hollyjo11883 by: Heather and Mommy
Shelves: read-in-2007
This book was hilarious but I think that since my mom and sister both told me some of the funniest parts before I even read it, it kind of ruined it. So thanks guys :) I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a sense of humor because if you didn't have one, you might think it was kind of weird.
Jul 23, 2013 Meg rated it really liked it
Laughed 'til I stopped.
Very entertaining read.
Eric Susak
Feb 03, 2015 Eric Susak rated it it was ok
Apathy and Other Small Victories is a story about a hopelessly apathetic, salt-stealing man caught up in a murder investigation of a deaf friend. His disposition often threatens his existence, yet it takes more than the loss of a job and two accusing detectives to concern Shane. The premise, to me, seemed interesting enough for a quick read, but the book itself only managed to achieve some small victories with my interest.

There are some funny moments, moments of absurdity and darkness that will
Jan 22, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The plot was relatively weak, the main character was the least interesting character in the book, and the ending was downright awful, but this book salvages three stars because it is perhaps the funniest book I have ever read.

First, the down-sides. Our protagonist is an incredibly unoriginal character. Let's see if this sounds familiar: apathetic 20-something slacker finds little satisfaction in relationships and jobs. He has both, but he likes neither, and he is pretty much just floating throu
Paul Eckert
Feb 18, 2013 Paul Eckert rated it liked it
If you like smart-ass humor, you’ll definitely like Apathy and Other Small Victories. Every line is full of cynical wit that mocks everything in its path.

Shane, the narrator and reader’s tour guide to not giving a crap, wanders from city to city getting his kicks by making snarky commentary about everything he finds ridiculous and absurd. And with a pathetic dentist nicknamed Bus Door Head and his deaf assistant, a girlfriend who likes masochistically painful sex, a weird upstairs neighbor with
Alex J
Nov 10, 2009 Alex J is currently reading it
I have been reading Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilon for a few weeks now and the book is historical. It is about a man in his late 20s early 30s named Shane who is unemployed and does not seem to care so much. Shane would be an awful example for someone who is in the achievatron. The book starts out with two cops interrogating him about his doctor's assistant who was killed. She is a married deaf woman who Shane is very fond of but not in a affectionate way. As Shane is getting in ...more
Don Jaucian
Dec 15, 2010 Don Jaucian rated it liked it
If you tell me that a book made you ROR like an idiot while reading it in a public place/transportation, I will immediately be curious about it. I think Apol Sta. Maria's Alamat ng Panget was my last ROR book, which I devoured in mere minutes. So when I read that Paul Neilan's Apathy and Other Small Victories made bestintensions ROR like an idiot, I asked him to lend it to me after he's done with it.

Apathy features a character that is a poor excuse for a broken man. Shane lives his life the way
Christopher Rex
Aug 29, 2010 Christopher Rex rated it really liked it
I rarely laugh out-loud from any book, but this was one of those exceptions which, for what it is worth, must say something. The lead character is a total loser, but is content to be one. As such, his entire existence drips with sarcasm, self-loathing, loathing of others and - as the title states - apathy. As a writer, Neilan does a great job of capturing the "apathetic loser" who finds himself in situations we've all been in - a job we don't want (or deserve given how crappy we are at it) which ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book is a freakin' hilarious satire on modern American life, the absurdity and futility of being a corporate cog, and the lies we tell ourselves to make it okay.

"I was stealing saltshakers again. Ten, sometimes twelve a night, shoving them in my pockets, hiding them up my sleeves, smuggling them out of bars and diners and anywhere else I could find them. In the morning, wherever I woke up, I was always covered in salt. I was cured meat. I had become beef jerkey. Even as a small, small chil
Eric Hinrichsen Jr.
Oct 23, 2012 Eric Hinrichsen Jr. rated it really liked it
I forgot how I came across this book. I honestly think it was due to the cool cover. But I'm glad I found it, however I did.

The book follows our hero who is apathetic in the face of those who expect to care. He seems to drift through life in a haze of apathy. He's got a girlfriend who seems to expect him to care more about the relationship than he does, and she gets him a job where he cares so little that he goes and falls asleep on the toilet until his legs are numb.

The book successfully parodi
Apr 08, 2013 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before starting the review, I'd like to say Paul Neilan cannot really write. At least he cannot in the traditional sense that we are all used to. He can make characters, stories, dialogue, etc., but his structure/style/certain moments of syntax are essentially anomalous when compared to most other books.

Despite this, this book is hilarious and somewhat brilliant. Following the apathetic slacker Shane in his hectic and shenanigans-filled life, this novel manages to be painfully, gut-wrenchingly h
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*SPOILERS* Help Understanding the end! 4 13 Jul 25, 2015 02:05PM  
apathy 9 111 Aug 29, 2013 02:59PM  
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Paul Neilan is an American novelist, writer of Apathy and Other Small Victories.
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“The world is your oyster...
...too bad you're allergic to shellfish.”
“It was nice of her to want to believe the best about me. People tend to do that with the strangers they're fucking. If she wanted to think that apathy and independence were the same thing, good for her. Maybe she was right.” 52 likes
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