Author is chillingly frank about his actions toward Dahmer in his youth; reading this in one go was thoroughly unsettling, which is unsurprising. Poor...moreAuthor is chillingly frank about his actions toward Dahmer in his youth; reading this in one go was thoroughly unsettling, which is unsurprising. Poorly-researched, poorly-reasoned, and generally unhelpful, for a reflective retrospection, attitude towards mental illness (portrayal of Joyce, for example) which leaves an entirely different kind of bad aftertaste, as well. As other reviews have noted, author is an asshole, and not just his high school self (which is definitely an asshole), and particularly obnoxious when he starts pointing fingers at whose fault Dahmer's descent was. Not a fun read, but interesting and worthwhile; Art somehow fitting, writing mediocre bordering on sub-par. 3/5(less)
I am ambivalent about this one. On the one hand, I would recommend it, with considerable enthusiasm. On the other hand, it is not a good book.
I would...moreI am ambivalent about this one. On the one hand, I would recommend it, with considerable enthusiasm. On the other hand, it is not a good book.
I would recommend it because it is light-hearted, digestible, but still had the capacity to inspire joyful introspection.
It is, however, not in any capacity good literature. Ham-fisted is an understatement. I happen to enjoy descriptions of food, but if you do not, brace yourself, it will be a rocky ride. Every meal is described in relatively prosaic detail. The socioeconomic problems of contemporary America get a self-obsessed white-man once-over. The not-quite-plot is a backdrop to midwestern nostalgia. There are times it tries to be funny and blunders awkwardly instead.
That said, I tend to think that poetic language or rigorous problematization of the world are not required characteristics of an artifact for quiet, peaceful soul-searching.
Or maybe Oberlin was mentioned (and Java Zone! and Ben Franklin!), maybe that is why I liked it.(less)
Viscerally disturbing, this was one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It is about bravery, and love, and fear, and desperation. I loved the...moreViscerally disturbing, this was one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It is about bravery, and love, and fear, and desperation. I loved the allegorical narrative style and how much more intense it was rendered by an unusual use of language (recognizing it is a translation).
For example: "that is what we say when we do not wish to play the weakling, we say Fine, even though we may be dying, and this is commonly known as taking one's courage in both hands, a phenomenon that has only been observed in the human species."
This may be a frustrating style, but, accepting it, I found myself completely immersed in a vivid, violent, and tormented world. None of the characters have names; dialogues are unmarred by punctuation; and, as in the quote above, the narrative develops through generalizations. These characteristics made the story a deeply personal experience that was absolutely horrifying and enchanting.
I would strongly recommend this, with a trigger warning of very graphic sexual violence.(less)