I listened to this on audiobook, read by the author. I don't think I'll ever buy another hard copy again; listening to Sedaris read his own work is faI listened to this on audiobook, read by the author. I don't think I'll ever buy another hard copy again; listening to Sedaris read his own work is fantastic. While the story about turtles made me cringe, I laughed out loud in the car repeatedly during most of the rest of the essays. Just thinking about "Obama!!!" or "sexy mothafoka" makes me giggle....more
So I though this would be a fun and interesting read. For years I thought it would be passingly interesting, at least for a little while, to be a cashSo I though this would be a fun and interesting read. For years I thought it would be passingly interesting, at least for a little while, to be a cashier in the express lane at a grocery store (back before the self-scan aisles), especially. I imagined it would at least occasionally be fun to see what people came into the store for when they were just getting a few things. I suspect most of the time it's basics like milk, eggs (and vodka?), but occasionally a more random and amusing collection of items. With that in mind, I though this book would be a kind of glimpse into that world. And I supposed it is; most of the lists are pretty mundane, some a little bit stranger. The author tried hard to make the boring lists interesting, which didn't really work for me.
My biggest complaint, really, is that the author is pretty much a jackass. The whole time I was reading the chapter about poor spelling, I was irritated. Who cares about spelling on a grocery list? It's not like it's a newspaper article or a novel. It's a frickin' list. Also, maybe there's a joke on there that you're not privy to. My husband and I have a private joke about bananas (and koalas, anything with repeat syllables like that). We call them "banananas" and put it on the list that way as a little love note/joke.
The author mocks people's ignorance and calls them "stupid". He writes disparaging things based on their handwriting. (Which, WTF? Doctors have notoriously awful handwriting and you'd be hard pressed to convince me, or most people, that they're stupid.) Maybe the person writing the list didn't finish school, maybe not even elementary school. Maybe they're handicapped, physically or mentally. Maybe they're a child. Maybe they're writing with their off hand because their dominant one is broken. Maybe they're writing a list you're not meant to see and who gives a shit about spelling in that case?
I did like the tidbits of trivia in margins, though having to turn the book or my head was a little annoying. I found the author's forced attempt at humor tiring.
So for the first, oh, third of the book or so, I felt similar to how I did when I first saw the movie Vanilla Sky; I thought, "I don't know what the fSo for the first, oh, third of the book or so, I felt similar to how I did when I first saw the movie Vanilla Sky; I thought, "I don't know what the fuck is going on here, but I'm kind of okay with that". Now that I'm done, I can't decide if Carroll had a plan all along, or just made things up as he went. It could really go either way. With such a strange, convoluted storyline, it's hard to write a synopsis without giving things away. The main character, Vincent, died and was brought back to life to learn and navigate and save the world? Maybe? He meets and re-meets people, moves back and forth in time, develops special powers. It could be written in a really cheesy way, but wasn't. In the end, I liked it well enough. It's definitely a book that could be deeply probed for depth and inner meaning, but enjoyable just for casual reading, too. I'd read the sequel if it fell into my hands, but I don't know that I'd go hunting for it....more
I rather liked this. I think. It was long (almost 600 pages) and I grumbled a bit at first "dammit, book club, again with the giant ass book", but I fI rather liked this. I think. It was long (almost 600 pages) and I grumbled a bit at first "dammit, book club, again with the giant ass book", but I found it a pretty fast read; knocked it out in about two weeks, which isn't bad considering all the other stuff I've got going on. I'm still processing it, so this review may well change as I think on it.
To an extent, this is a "writers' book", as a friend likes to call it. Not a whole lot of action, lots of good sentence structure, lots of conceptual stuff. Should make for a good book club discussion. I go back and forth as it whether a lot of it could be edited out or not. I generally think, yes, but then you'd be left with a book without much going on at all. There's so much character development and personal interaction; that seems mostly the crux of the book - not the plot but the characters. Not that a one of them is sympathetic, mind you. Which is okay for me; I don't need to like any of characters to enjoy a book. Everyone in this is pretty pretentious and snobby and not anyone I would care to know. Though they are eccentric and the author paints them as unique and interesting creatures, I don't think the rest of even a small school would think anything of them much besides, "oh, yeah, those weird Greek people", if that.
Even so, every now and then, toward the end, I found myself getting Henry and Francis confused, which is strange to say about a book *so* centered on characters.
The murders do make for an interesting framework for a character study, which I feel like this is. I think it would be interesting to know the story from other perspectives.
I will say there is a TON of drinking in this. I mean, I went away to college and I drank a fair bit my freshman year, but not like that. Everyone is drunk all the time, especially in the latter half. I don't know if that's the author's way of indicating a loss of control or what, but it was excessive to the point of boring. It also made it a little hard to read for me, personally, with some things currently going on in my own life.
I don't know that I'd call this a "psychological thriller", as it is often described. Psychological, yes. Thriller? Not so much.
EDITED TO ADD: When posting on another site, I see that I listened to an abridged version of this back in 2005. I don't remember that at all. At only 3 hours long, though, it was clearly hacked to pieces. I wonder what I would have thought were I to have read such an abridged version?...more
I enjoyed this. A sweet story about a girl struggling with a illness and her bonds with those suffering a similar fate. It's a nice teenager love storI enjoyed this. A sweet story about a girl struggling with a illness and her bonds with those suffering a similar fate. It's a nice teenager love story, but much more than that, it also really seemed to me to have a firm understanding of teen feelings and thoughts. As a nurse, I greatly appreciated the insight into the minds of ill teens. The "plot twist", as it were, did not come as a particular surprise to me, but that did not lessen my enjoyment. There is a lot of reference to a particular book which I kept meaning to research and see if it actually exists. I almost hope it doesn't, really, as I like the idea of the author almost writing two books at once. I'm now curious about seeing the film version....more