Laurie's Reviews > A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
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's review
Jul 05, 10

Read in July, 2010

The five star review system irks me when it comes to a book like this, because what I truly wish to give this book is something slightly more neutral, because that is the feeling the book left me with in the end.

Afterall, I didn't hate this book and see very little reason why anyone should, because it didn't even work that "love it or hate it or hate it" angle of other popular works. I agree with the point others have made, how it is quite fashionable to hate Dave Eggars these days (something I may have even been slightly guilty of before reading this). Therefore I would hazard a guess that most people that hated this book in fact just hate him. And it is easy to see why.

Dave Eggars cares a lot about what you think of him. If you come at him with any sort of negativity, he will come back at you with a smug face that says "HA! Too late, I already made a self-deprecating joke about that!" That was my single biggest beef with this book and the writing style. It was too self conscious and apolegetic in a way that was seriously presented to the reader to if not impress, at least excuse.

Bullshit. When this book took ownership of the events and emotional descriptions that came along with them, I was hooked. There are some amazingly well written pages that at points were so raw and human, it made me tear up. It didn't matterif I could not really identify with the life and situations Eggars has presented, I was still going along with him, observing his behaviors and worries, finding introspection in myself by proxy. That is just plain good writing, something that deserves to be met with confidence on the part of the author.

My only other issue is that this book follows a thematic pace, not a plot driven one. This leaves the end feeling, as many in this style do, slapped together at points and unresolved in the end. This is ok, it is memoir, but if this sort of thing irks you then I suggest staying away.

Dave Eggars, I don't really hate you. In fact I think I kind of like you. I hope you have grown some confidence with your writing voice for your last couple of works, because in that case I would definitely check them out.

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