Meave's Reviews > Half Empty

Half Empty by David Rakoff
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

it was amazing
Read from December 01 to 28, 2010

There's no reason it took me a month to read this. I just wasn't concentrating, which is completely idiotic because this book is GREAT. It is devastatingly funny and devastatingly sad and just so, so good. I want to own it so I can read it five more times.

Granted, I am mrs. emotional, and this month has seen record mood swings, but Half Empty is a giant. David Rakoff makes such clear, sharp observations about the most pathetic parts of life without getting maudlin, ugh, I mean reading this book quickly would've been stupid anyway because I might've missed all these great little parts. You know who else writes like that is Kevin Fanning. Like pointing to an item in a room and saying, "This is the name of this item, and these are some facts about it," and then the item is the most important thing you've ever seen. It's such a valuable talent that so many writers appear to lack, the ability to make something important without aggrandizing it. Like the idea behind the writing is more about changing the lighting of a subject while the viewer is watching.


If you don't like essay collections, you should really reexamine that; also you might not love this book as much as I do. I love an essay collection! And there aren't a lot of writers who can really consistently write essays super-well. I feel like, if you like Joan Didion, David Rakoff is your kind of writer. He has the same ability to fade in and out of the narrative--his own narrative!--but he's a little meaner, a little obviously sadder, a little darker than Didion, and certainly funnier. If you don't love this book, maybe you don't understand sadness enough. [GROSS WHO WRITES LIKE THAT? Me, because I'm not ridiculously talented like David Rakoff and maudlin is basically my best friend.]

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