Ryan's Reviews > Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
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's review
Dec 10, 2010

really liked it
Read from December 02 to 08, 2010

I don't think I've ever been so happy to finish a book.

It's not that Super Sad True Love Story is a bad or boring book. It's quite intelligent and it's often funny (perhaps 'witty' would be a better adjective for a New York Times darling like Shteyngart). However, this book is just super sad. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the working title was "super, super, sad story."

Shteyngart has created a "dystopian" America, but readers won't have to try very hard to find the targets of this satire. Social networking is out of control and people spend all their time texting, chatting, and online shopping. Most people are illiterate, and the only library we see is actually sprayed with pinesol to get rid of the smell.

Thankfully, smart phones are better than ever at collecting and broadcasting personal data. Now, they can even be used to rate the attractiveness and personality of the people around you. They monitor your pulse and social networking history to produce their ratings.

Unfortunately, Lenny Abramov always scores low in attractiveness and personality, though his credit is impressive.

Nearly 40, Lenny is a salesman for a longevity company that markets its program to healthy, high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Yes, Lenny has good credit, but it's becoming increasingly unlikely that he will live forever. Sadly, his Ohio-shaped bald spot is only getting bigger.

However, when Lenny meets a 24 year-old Korean girl, Eunice Park, while in Rome, he finds a new lease on life. Eunice is young, beautiful, and she comes from an abusive family. Lenny doesn't need his smart phone to tell him that Eunice is just the type of girl to receive his unconditional love.

Unfortunately, Eunice is not a very warm person and although she admits to herself and her friends that she loves Lenny, she is living in a difficult world. America is now well beyond "decline." Its economy in shambles and its debt out of control, the country only survives by the grace of the Chinese and their credit. Lenny's strategies to succeed in this economy? Associate with an attractive Korean girl and make your boss feel protective about you.

In the New York that Shteyngart describes, there is no longer room for any class but the ultra rich. And there may not be room for a love story either, no matter how super sad it may be.

Super Sad True Love Story does contain moments of humor, but it's quite a downer. Considering that all of the people in this story are ridiculed for their obsessions with cheating death and positive thinking, I couldn't help feeling guilty by how squeamish I felt while reading this novel.

But I must admit that it succeeded in making me feel super sad.
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Reading Progress

02/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by S. (new) - rated it 3 stars

S. Thank you for writing and expressing my views on this book so totally and completely.

Ryan Sujatha wrote: "Thank you for writing and expressing my views on this book so totally and completely."

Ha - you're welcome.

I've been trying Absurdistan, but it's even tougher. Who saw that coming?

Sketchbook This book is big bore..

Kristin I am feeling less guilty and inadequate now about not being able to get through it.

Ryan Kristin wrote: "I am feeling less guilty and inadequate now about not being able to get through it."

Don't feel guilty. I recently read an article suggesting that many authors "end" their novels before the last page. Eventually, they start dropping hints that readers can return to their lives as they tie up all the loose ends demanded by their editors. Shteyngart wasn't interviewed or mentioned, but I am sure he wouldn't care hearing that people stopped halfway.

Jill Campbell-Miller Yes! I felt the same way great review.

message 7: by Kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat Nail on the head. Finished it last night and I've been depressed all day.

message 8: by Ellen (new)

Ellen A very depressing and disturbing book. Thank you for your review.

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