Ed's Reviews > Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
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's review
Aug 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars, 2010, read-on-kindle, tournament-of-books-2011, new-author-to-me, dystopia
Read from August 03 to 12, 2010

It's going to take me awhile to process Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story. While I was blown away by Shteyngart's dystopian near-future world, it mentally wore me down. The book provides no escape from the real-world political talking heads, continuing glum talk of the economy, an iPhone that is this close (insert finger pinching visual) being surgically attached to my hand, and the big capper, reading Super Sad on a Kindle. Let's just say it makes George Orwell's 1984 seem quaint and I found myself on several occasions feeling (wait for it) super sad. Yes, this is a razor-sharp, very funny satire, but man, it hit too close to home time and time again.

Besides the mental issues, I struggled with the love story part. While I was convinced that protagonist Lenny Abramov was convinced he was in love with young Korean Eunice Park, I was never on-board that the feelings were mutual. Ultimately, I came to my own conclusion that the relationship was a red herring, not the true love story of the title. While the one-way romance was sad, I grew more to think of it as Lenny's love for his homeland and immigrant parents, the United States, and society before it slipped away into a technology-fueled, "post-literate" world. Perhaps Eunice is even incapable of romantic love having only grown up in this "brave new world" where everything about everyone is publicly broadcast and privacy and freedom are virtually (ha!) non-existent.

A tough rating call here as vacillated between 3 and 4.5 stars from start to this post-/still processing time. I found much of it pure genius, but other times I could see Shtenygnart's wheels spinning, relentlessly flashy and self-indulgent and felt that I had had enough. While having a negative impact on my mood also seems to be a fair criticism, in retrospect, I have to credit the book, the written word (even on an e-ink screen!) for eliciting such an emotional response. So let's say 4 stars and recommending it on a case-by-case basis.

Oh, one more thing... by reading this review you are denying its existence and implying consent.
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Quotes Ed Liked

Gary Shteyngart
“Here was the tiredness of failure imposed on a country that believed only in its opposite. Here was the end product of our deep moral exhaustion.”
Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

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