I really hoped to like this, because the few bits and pieces that I saw floating around were really great aphorisms. I did like snippets of the book,...moreI really hoped to like this, because the few bits and pieces that I saw floating around were really great aphorisms. I did like snippets of the book, a few prosaic gems in there, especially when accompanied by the photographs that were well worth the look. But the thing as a whole was just so much of the same, and it felt like the punch line to every single piece was 'for YOU'; I mean, even the title follows that formula. That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it got old after a while. So many cliches one after another all to render stereotypical responses... it just had this really teenage-angst feel going on that I couldn't stomach. The author wrote some nice lines, but I felt like this constant reversal back to the eponymous 'you' and the plodding, redundant themes made it too formulaic and contrived to actually enjoy.
That said, I can very clearly see why other people enjoyed it so much, and all the more power to them. (less)
Well, I think I get what he was doing - or trying to do. To be fair, I did enjoy the book in the beginning. I thought it was pretty clever and funny a...moreWell, I think I get what he was doing - or trying to do. To be fair, I did enjoy the book in the beginning. I thought it was pretty clever and funny at points, and light reading is always nice before bed.
I stopped in the middle and started again the next day, and for some reason, I started to find his humor a little less funny, a little less biting - kind of ham-handed for what he was trying to do, actually. And David Sedaris himself started to come off as... really unlikeable. which was probably his point, but man, I usually LOVE unlikeable characters. I literally read for the sole purpose of finding flawed characters so for me, this was a Sign.
I think Sedaris as author decided that it'd be way 'wittier' to make Sedaris as character into a gross caricature and it backfired - at least, for me. It stopped being funny and just became unapologetic over-exaggerations of character flaws that could have been dealt with in a much more interesting, cutting way.
At a point, I started to ask myself why I even cared about these little vignettes enough to read them. And why there were so many.
(But it's not as bad as my review probably makes it sound. Once you get past the blatant arrogance, it's relatively funny if you're into short little chapters and punch lines.)(less)
At times plodding and tedious, at other times brilliant. I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy living inside the head of a cynical existentialist mire...moreAt times plodding and tedious, at other times brilliant. I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy living inside the head of a cynical existentialist mired in his own thoughts, which, frankly speaking sounds a lot like my day-to-day, so... take that with a grain of salt. The book was refreshing in a counterintuitive way. You would stumble onto a page full of exactly what you'd been feeling for years without ever having strung together the words to express it properly, but there it'd be, existing right on that page (lol). Just brilliant philosophical bits sprinkled around, which is why I've given it four stars.
That said, I read No Exit and Three Other Plays a little while ago, and honestly, I enjoyed that work more than Nausea. Maybe it's because plays demand some sort of action and Nausea was really about being locked up in the psyche of another human being - and most of the time only that human being. It got pretty claustrophobic in there, and since I have some similar outlooks on existence, the double-whammy of existential angst might have hit me a little too hard for pure enjoyment.
For me, Nausea as a novel isn't quite 5-star worthy. I felt better for reading it, because Sartre did manage to vocalize a lot of my inner thoughts eloquently, but at the same time, its function as a novel was compromised in favor of heavy philosophy (which is NOT by any means a bad thing). Enjoyment of a piece and respect for a piece are different, and I guess that's where the line comes in here. I respect Nausea. I enjoyed Nausea as well, but part of that enjoyment came from the respect I felt for its weight as a somewhat tedious yet meaningful and relatable work.(less)
Not a bad book, but I found the characters a bit... stiff, like cardboard. Stock. I give credit for attempting to remedy this; backstory after backsto...moreNot a bad book, but I found the characters a bit... stiff, like cardboard. Stock. I give credit for attempting to remedy this; backstory after backstory on the protagonists is obviously supposed to flesh them out, give them depth, but I found that these attempts became increasingly more contrived, making the book more of a chore to get through than something I felt personally invested in finishing. And I really like finishing books! I did enjoy the beginning though, as I'm an avid reader of Korean War literature and I accept the tragedies as having been realistically portrayed and well-executed on Lee's part. There's some very elegant prose in here and a number of powerful scenes, but the story is too heavy and takes itself so seriously that it really does just end up dragging its feet. I'm always one to enjoy tragic novels, but this was too heavy-handed. (less)
I can't honestly say I understood everything Youn wrote, but I'm strangely attracted to this book. Like other have commented, it's pretty abstract, bu...moreI can't honestly say I understood everything Youn wrote, but I'm strangely attracted to this book. Like other have commented, it's pretty abstract, but the heart of this collection and the reason I have come back to re-read certain poems so often is her exquisite command of language and nuance. There's something very... full, rich, and lovely about the way she uses words. Her imagery isn't a forced aesthetic - or at least, it certainly doesn't read forced, and she's able to invoke so much more depth with a single syllable than most other poets I've read. I'll probably hunker down some day and dig through this more thoroughly, but even as it is now, I'm wholly charmed. (less)