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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
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Dec 16, 07

really liked it
Read in November, 2001

I remember reading this book in Biology 11 -- either reading it before class started, or having it out on my desk, or something -- and my teacher, who was this sort of delightfully insane man who was retiring at the end of that year and so knew he could get away with anything, and once spent twenty minutes at the start of class telling us about the ABBA cover band he'd been to see last night, and how the music of ABBA uplifted the soul, and so on -- seeing the title and telling me never to be broken-hearted, never to get discouraged. Fifteen was not a good age for me and I nearly dropped out of school that year; his class was one of the few I made it through, mostly because he was so forgiving and so badly wanted me to make it through that he fudged all sorts of things to help me pass. That's what I always remember first when I think of this book.

Second I usually remember that Jarrett lent it to me, and that reminds me of how fifteen was in some ways a very good age. You know how when you're a teenager, everything is INCREDIBLY DRAMATIC, which means that when your life sucks (which obviously it does, because you're a teenager) THE WORLD IS ENDING, but also that when you're happy or in love or have good times with good friends, those are the most happy moments you will ever have or the most desperately in love you will ever be, for the rest of your life? Yeah.

Later, I remember mentioning this book to my AP Lit teacher Ruby, and her response being something like, "yeah, I remember what it was like to be 24," and I suspect if I read it now I would think, yes, juvenile, and it wouldn't do the same thing for me as it did at the time. So it's probably a good thing I don't actually have a copy.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This is an amazing review. I think more people should review like this. But maybe that's impossible because most of the people here have black, empty hearts.


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