What the hell is this supposed to be? Chick lit? Too misogynist. A Serious Novel? Too slapstick. Social Satire (as the summaries say)? Only if you donWhat the hell is this supposed to be? Chick lit? Too misogynist. A Serious Novel? Too slapstick. Social Satire (as the summaries say)? Only if you don't know the difference between satire are cliche.
I was about 1/2 done when I realized it was supposed to be comedy. Not the witty verbal comedy that I usually like, but low-brow gross-out comedy that should be staring Jack Black and Vince Vaughn. The kind of comedy where the humor comes from someone falling off a deck or getting stoned on pain killers and giving a bad speech. The kind of comedy that is more uncomfortable than funny.
Maybe all the falling down would be funny in a movie with a good physical actor, but its not written well enough to be funny in words. As a gross-out comedy it still didn't make sense. Too much reliance on 40-years past back-story to develop motivations. Sorry Maggie Shipstead, Vince Vaughn will never be Sterling because who could possibly play Winn both at both 60 and 20? And how would the fill the first 1/2 of the movie without anything humorous happening? And who would possible want to see it?...more
I suppose by definition, when you write a memoir you’re assuming that people will be interested in your life. And when I read a memoir, I’m concedingI suppose by definition, when you write a memoir you’re assuming that people will be interested in your life. And when I read a memoir, I’m conceding that I am interested in the writer’s life. But this memoir says that in such an egotistical way that I was left wondering who the hell Ira Wagner thinks he is that anyone would read this.
First off, the prose is so melodramatic and overreaching that it makes me cringe. It’s so obviously an English 101 writing assignment (or if not literally an assignment, the work of someone still learning how to write), complete with clichés, repetitiveness and trying way too hard to sound lyrical. It felt obvious too that he tried way too hard be fair and not to criticize, at the expense of owning his own story and experiences. How many times can you say “I’m not criticizing, just stating the fact. That is just the way it was.” The editor could have cut pages from the book by deleting that useless phrase every time it appeared, along with any and all paragraphs that contain with “I don’t remember…”
Secondly, there is something missing. He talks about the stress and struggles of living an Amish life, but doesn’t ever say what is stressful about it. He is quite upset that his neighbors are proudly ignorant; it’s a huge gulf between them and one of the big reasons he doesn’t want to stay Amish, but he never says what topics they’re proudly ignorant on. He goes on and on and on about his fears about all the bad things he’s done, without ever mentioning what those things might be. He left and returned like many of his peer group. He drank and bought a car at a time when he wasn’t a member of the community, like many in his peer group. He disappointed his parents and dumped his girlfriend, like so many teenagers and young adults do in every culture. Yes, these are bad, but they don’t seem as unforgivable as he makes them out, especially because he was forgiven for them. I felt like he must have done bigger stuff he just didn’t bother to describe. Or maybe he just lacks the perspective to see that those things are not that exceptional.
Thirdly and I suppose this is a petty criticism, this book has the misfortune of being misnamed. It’s not about Growing Up Amish, it’s about Wagner’s back-and-forth relationship to the Amish culture and eventual apostasy, all of which took place in his teenage and adult life. It doesn’t get at those little curiosities of daily life that entice someone to read a book about growing up in a culture different from our own. Do they have hot water? How do they cook? If electric service is not allowed in the home, is it allowed in other Amish structures, like the schools and businesses? What about natural gas service? How do they do laundry? Do women work outside the home or schools? What are typical meals? I don’t fault the author for not pandering to curiosities; they’re not what his book is about. But they are what the title of his book indicates the book is about and honestly they’d probably have been more interesting.
Fourth, there was one passage about his relationship with Sarah that majorly hit a nerve. I won’t begrudge him having a failed relationship. That’s a fact of life. I won’t even begrudge him for getting engaged to a woman he didn’t love. That too seemed part of the culture. But there was one passage where he says something like “We were very compatible. She loved me intensely and would have been a loyal wife. But I didn’t feel anything for her”. Is that you’re idea of compatible? What kind of sexist egomaniac do you have to be to think that that is what “compatible” means? At least he had the sense to leave before he could drag the poor girl into a one-sided marriage, but even then he seems to feel more guilty about the break up than about than about stringing her along for so long.
Fifth, what did the Mennonite church offer that the Amish didn't? A little extra undefined "freedom"? ...more
I feel mislead by the subtitle and by some other reviews. I want to give it one star because it wasn't at all what I expected or hoped for. But it wasI feel mislead by the subtitle and by some other reviews. I want to give it one star because it wasn't at all what I expected or hoped for. But it wasn't that bad, just misnamed and over hyped.
This is a history of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon with a minor lens toward race and slavery and even less about Dumas.
You know what Alexandre Dumas did that Edmond Dantes didn't do? Lead a cavalry for his entire adult life and more than half of his book. Bring servants and a goat and money into jail with him where he got to talk to his fellow prisoners.
I felt like this was a really long advertisement for another book. She just kept talking up her ideas and research without ever seeming to get to it.I felt like this was a really long advertisement for another book. She just kept talking up her ideas and research without ever seeming to get to it. The organization of the book was unclear to me and I had trouble picking out when one topic was ending and another was starting, and she didn't really recap or summarize her points so they get lost in the mix. I think partially this was due to listening rather than reading and possibly some editing choices (seeming longer pauses and stronger headings between parts of the same topic than between chapters).
There were a few things that I hope to learn from. Particularly this list (very glad she has it on her website because I couldn't ever remember a list this long while listening.) There was another list too that I wanted to remember but I guess it's gone to me unless I pick up a physical copy....more
I can't believe I bothered to finish this. By the halfway point I was hate-reading, which is actually fitting since Ignatius may have been the first eI can't believe I bothered to finish this. By the halfway point I was hate-reading, which is actually fitting since Ignatius may have been the first example of hate-watching TV and movies.
I hated Ignatius. He is not a zany hero. He is not witty. He is not a good guy or even a decent human. It didn't even occur to me that he was supposed to be a hero until I read some other reviewers. If he is the hero I want off the bus. I've known and hated too many people that share his anti-social attitudes. At worst they are horrible coworkers and scary people. At best they have social disabilities and elicit sympathy and i feel guilty for hating them so much. By trying to force the reader to see ignatius as humorous, Toole seemed to be making fun of people that, in 2013, nice people now know better than to make fun of.
As happens with classics often, I was surprised at the timelessness of the story. Today we hear so much about the millinials, the ones who can't or won't leave the nest. The generation of lazy obese slobs wasting their expensive education in their parent's basements. Ignatius exhibited all those unfair stereotypes in 1963! My first reaction was to see it as a critique on the baby boomers, but Ignatius was 30 in 1963. He'd be 80 now! There have always been lazy slobs! Tell that to the next "back in my day" old rogue flapping his gums about young people....more