While well written and undoubtedly courageous, I thought this book left a lot to be desired. There's a couple instances in which Andrews talks of bein...moreWhile well written and undoubtedly courageous, I thought this book left a lot to be desired. There's a couple instances in which Andrews talks of being a "professional communicator". He says how much he loves storytelling and that being a broadcaster afforded him ample opportunities to do so. That being said, I felt this story fell kind of flat. The info in this book doesn't seem to go beyond what a Bio Blurb might say on his website or any other 'About' tab. This is an Oklahoma-born guy who was raised by bible scholars, went to Christian schools, and ended up in Christian radio. His first significant crisis of faith was on 9/11 when the planes hit the towers in NYC. From then on things spiraled and he started to "take his head out of his ass", as he put it. What about the backlash from his devout family? Their son not only came out as an atheist, but now runs and maintains a well-known atheist community. He only briefly touches on these things and when he does it just comes across very matter-of-fact and almost blasé. I'm not denying that his personal realizations aren't profound and extremely courageous-- many kudos to him for being so honest and creating a forum for non-believers to feel less alienated. I was just maybe hoping for a bit more depth alongside the quips and snarky anecdotes about why religion is so absurd.(less)
This is really more of a 2 star book for me in terms of how much I liked it and why, but adding one more because of the diverse characters and their b...moreThis is really more of a 2 star book for me in terms of how much I liked it and why, but adding one more because of the diverse characters and their believability. To elaborate, I mean believability in that she paints a very vivid picture and I can actually imagine these characters very well and they feel real to me. That can only carry you so far though when the story drags on and on and on and, oh yeah, this book is over 700 pages! It really could have been more like 300-350, it's not as if the plot was so intricate and deep that 700 pages was called for. At all. Theo seemed like he had potential and was an interesting, likeable character until I'd say he went to Vegas and started killing his brain cells over and over with various teenage cliches. Honestly, there is so much more I hate about this book than I like. The writing in the first several chapters was a kind of hard to follow stream of consciousness back and forth type thing and just flat out irritating. The characters were nicely drawn out but their relationships were not. So many completely unrealistic scenarios, and giant, convenient leaps in what would otherwise be tricky plot turns or maybe a chance to actually carve out a more plausible story...? Pippa? What was even the point? I can't rant and rave without spoilers galore, so here's my in a nutshell review: Boy goes to museum with his mom where freak terrorist incident occurs and she is killed. He has a strange encounter with a dying old man who later plays a huge role in shaping his life. Boy steals a (overrated?) painting from museum, boy spends whole life fretting about what to do with it and where to hide it, boy turns into highly functioning junkie adult, constantly ruminates about the meaning of life and ultimately reveals himself to be a really depressing nihilist! Nothing and no one truly matters because life is a cesspool, la la la. I mean, that's really about it. Oh!! THEN there's the whole thing of his terrible relationship with his louse of a father, and how knowing all the terrible things he's done in his life doesn't seem to deter him from turning into his spitting image as an adult. None of that "learn from their mistakes" stuff here, because having a great Mom didn't help this guy at all. Once she was gone he essentially spit on her memory and turned into a deplorable louse just like his dead beat Dad...right down to the overpriced suits and scamming people instead of making an honest living. The ending sucked and was pretentious as all hell. Long drawn out musings on life and its lessons...kind of hard to take any of it to heart considering who it's coming from. At this point I really hated Theo and just skimmed entire rambling chapters just to get to the end because I was so happy to finish this book and get it over with...
So let me save you some time and dignity: if you are 100 pages in and the BS is already flooring you, don't bother continuing, there's nothing redemptive in the next 600+ pages. (less)
If you look up DOUCHEBAG in the dictionary, you're likely to see this guy under the main entry. I love memoirs about addiction, they are fascinating a...moreIf you look up DOUCHEBAG in the dictionary, you're likely to see this guy under the main entry. I love memoirs about addiction, they are fascinating and usually serve as a nice reality check whenever my often troubled mind veers into darker territories. This one just irritated the hell out of me and made me badly wish I could punch the guy in the face. Sheff spends a lot of time boasting about how great a writer he is, which is strange because this book reads like an immature 14 year old wrote it. I'm betting the only reason his writing ever got published when he was in school was because his father is a journalist with friends in high places. His favorite word to describe anything is "amazing" and he uses 'like' more than any ditzy valley girl that ever existed. This is like the Twilight version of addiction memoirs: shallow and mind numbingly frustrating. I could get over these flaws if there was a heartfelt story with real truth behind it, but there wasn't. This guy was given chance after chance and kept taking it all for granted. Squandering his parent's money and efforts, he was nothing but selfish time again and time again. Instead of working towards positive changes and a better life, he thought it was more productive to constantly name drop and obsess over some old washed out rock stars famous ex girlfriend. You think he gets it together in the end, as he claims, but that's just so he can build you up to buy his second lousy memoir about relapsing, appropriately titled We All Fall Down. Sheff says that throughout the duration of his book tour promoting Tweak, he was on drugs. Don't buy his terrible books and feed into his habit.(less)