Three things I'm left believing from this book and other books concerning people and great wealth:
1. People who've lived in fabulous wealth from birthThree things I'm left believing from this book and other books concerning people and great wealth:
1. People who've lived in fabulous wealth from birth are often infantile or nearly paralytically childish. 2. People who've inherited or won great wealth (not just riches) are or become like nasty teenagers. 3. Rich or wealthy people will eat their own.
If you know Gore Vidal at his best (usually in his essays), then you get him at his best here. Brilliant, satirical, brilliant, witty, brilliant...impIf you know Gore Vidal at his best (usually in his essays), then you get him at his best here. Brilliant, satirical, brilliant, witty, brilliant...important....more
Another book about Lance Armstrong? Actually, this book is much more about the trials and tribulation of attempting to bring a "god" down to earth (asAnother book about Lance Armstrong? Actually, this book is much more about the trials and tribulation of attempting to bring a "god" down to earth (as the author alludes to in the book). If you had any doubt of the kind of person Lance Armstrong really is, the reprehensible behaviour described in this book will shatter all illusions of his self-constructed and self-promoted magnanimity. Although stylistically, this book is not as well-organized and written as other I've read, as there is a confusing chronology and uneven structure to the book. It's as if there are a lot of details mixed with feelings and an irregular bounding from one time period to another. However, ultimately given the evidence (facts, figures, witness statements, and events that occur subsequent to the book's release) and even some realistic theories inferred from the evidence, it delineates quite clearly a person who portrayed and still portrays himself as a superb athlete and compassionate humanitarian, but who is unlikely to be the former and is assuredly not the latter.
I will repeat here that although I was certain of his drug use when my husband first introduced me to the world of cycling (both triathlon and road) in 2004 simply from my experiences in the competitive bodybuilding world, I was relatively nonjudgmental about it. I learned cynicism early and was rewarded by being difficult to "snow" concerning the prevalence of drugs in sport. As athlete after athlete was caught, confessed and in some cases severely punished, that intuitive mistrust has proven itself to be accurate. Fortunately that inability to accept denials of doping or cheating at "face value," also has not necessarily completely destroyed my love of the sport. I've never really cared about Lance's drug use from the perspective that I felt it was nearly impossible to remove drugs from sports, particularly professional sports, and that he was indeed correct that everyone was taking them by then. Sometimes being able to take something for what it is is freeing and is a anodyne against the unexpected rear-end crash of disillusionment. For most of the last 11 years, I've simply thought that it was an even playing field with everyone doping, so that whoever comes first IS likely to be the best. Now I'm not so sure. My doubts began when I read that Lance's VO2 Max was 82 and Greg LeMond's VO2 Max was 95! There were other athletes in the Tour de France who had higher VO2 Max values than Lance, and although a high one doesn't guarantee success, it certainly is a powerful factor in it. My convictions that it's possible that Lance could have been the better athlete and "level-playing-field" attitudes are starting to slip. When one is made to question one's assumptions, that is often a sign of great value in a book.
What had always bothered me and still does disturb me greatly is poor sportsmanship, arrogance and shockingly bad manners displayed by many sports "heroes." Grace and graciousness is difficult, but when a person has either been given or earned so much (particularly from the fandom of others), her or she should at least attempt them. By 2004, though, stories of Lance's cruel and retributive actions were beginning to filter out. Having had experience with people who engage in the kinds of vindictive behaviours that Lance displayed (and this type of person is nothing if not predictable), I was surprised to find even myself shocked with the stories of the "won-over, used-up, and cast-aside" that were starting to pile up. Warning, Walsh's book will take this even further to point where the antagonism and relentlessly punitive behaviours will leave even firm believers in redemption convinced it's gone too far beyond that. Beware the rightly and consistently just of the world, this book will be upsetting.
I started this book with excited anticipation. This was my last selection for the Canada Read list, and it was a Governor General Award winner. But no I started this book with excited anticipation. This was my last selection for the Canada Read list, and it was a Governor General Award winner. But now after reading it, I can’t help but feel that this was a “token” awarding, as the subject matter is vital, but there is so much brutally lost potential to this book that I almost cried. There is creativity, critique, snark, word-play and vision, and like a bright light after long darkness, you are relieved and grateful to see a book that explodes sex and gender rigidity. Unfortunately, there is too much angry emptiness for the light to be even painfully enjoyed. Profound, incisive commentary fell at the feet of too-clever banter, crushing nihilism, and repetitive hyperbole. All the stereotypes of adolescence were there without true self-reflection, growth, or even literary elaboration, and I felt there was a hyper-pettiness and misogyny that completely drowned out the beautiful extended metaphor.
Even the movie industry with all its fakery, cruelty, and corruption can occasionally have its moment of kindness (e.g. The Princess Bride), sublimity or transcendence (The Priest, 1994). Nothing in this book transcends contempt, ranting, or bad judgment. The density of shock sex comments is so great, that one is bored by the sexual references by the 4th chapter. An absolutely crucial message is looses so much power by a kind of mechanization of human agency. The main character is written as entirely an one-dimensional derisive character such that the one redeeming quality (possible compassionate feelings towards a younger sibling) feels unbelievable. Whether a character is good or evil or even amoral, a one-dimensional character fails in literature and drama no matter how important the message.
Brilliant lines such as that of page 30: “When we got to my grandma’s house and she saw that Ray wasn’t with us, she didn’t seem surprised. She probably just thought he’d be in another meth lab explosion,” are completely ruined by silly lines such as “Shame is so boring.” Our protagonist, by constantly pointing it out and discussing it with the reader, must think it’s interesting. If this is highlighting the hypocritical notions of the pre-teen/teenager, then “Bravo.”
Narcissism, truly a factor in Hollywood entertainment, high school and life in general, is sadly all the character is, as he sums up so eloquently on page 137: “But think about how horrible it’ll be to wake up every morning think about someone else before you think about yourself,” which feels like a chance lost. In the rush to be edgy the message gets so overwhelmed by condescension, that the reader has a tough time connecting with narrative, the characters or subject matter: a great squandering, indeed. ...more
Considering how completely focused he is on how pretty a girl is, I think the lesson he described learning near the end of the book was more nuanced,Considering how completely focused he is on how pretty a girl is, I think the lesson he described learning near the end of the book was more nuanced, and that a deeper look into that might be in order. ...more
Meh. Very predictable. I figured out the killer as soon as appeared in narrative, not for reasons most would guess. The writing wasn't too bad until yMeh. Very predictable. I figured out the killer as soon as appeared in narrative, not for reasons most would guess. The writing wasn't too bad until you got to the sex scenes. They were eye-rollingly bad (not even smirk-worthy). Not the worst, but there is much better out there....more