Philip's Reviews > A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
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Aug 07, 11

bookshelves: jordabecker-book-club
Recommended to Philip by: Rossa
Read on August 04, 2011

I've been writing a paper on student accountability for the past three days. All I've been able to think about is writing the review for this book. I'm at my stalling breaking point. Also, it's 12:11 AM, so my brain's about fried.

Which is to say, if you're still reading this review, you may want to stop now. It could get a little crazy. How crazy? I'm sure we're probably talking Fear Dot Com crazy. What a web-review you've stumbled across. (And I don't mean "fear dot com" crazy like this review is going to be a ripoff of some other review the way that fear dot come was a ripoff of The Ring either...) See, already you're getting a little freaked out because you watched those two movie trailers.

Geez. I wanted this review to be big, and important, and garner all sorts of likes from all sorts of people that I don't even know. I wanted it to say something. ANYTHING really, but most importantly something.

I wanted to give myself back to Dave Eggers in this review. To display my insides. The hurt, the joy, the sheer overwhelmingness of all that fits into a single (if there is such a thing) life. I wanted this review to be a vivisection of me for the whole world to be able to look at my heart in my chest, still pumping blood while I smile up at Dave and say, "Hey, look man. It's no problem. It's the least I can do for you after you gave so much of yourself to us."

I guess he's probably not asking for that. (Which is good, because I'm worried this review is turning to shit.) But then again, we didn't ask for all he gave. Perhaps it's too much. Perhaps he gave too much. Did I need to know about his masturbatory habits? No. Did I find that a little bit weird? Yes. But man, THAT was the book. A no-holds-barred, laying it all out, I may be pretentious, but maybe you'll learn something from my pretention, but maybe it's all some sort of f***ery.

I wanted this review to go on for pages. For people to read it and think, "MY G-D, he's rambling." But then look back at it again and say, "But no. Didn't you see where he hit Toph's head on the doorframe? That's just like where he hit his mom's head." Or "Every time he goes on some diatribe he gets so focused on opining on the topic that he misses his exit... oh wait... maybe that was intentional... maybe he didn't miss the exit in real life. Maybe he only missed it in the narrative to make a point."

But what would that point be in this review? That I liked the book? That I'm both jealous of Dave Eggers' freedom, and annoyed by how cavalierly he flaunts it? That I, too, am inwardly self-obsessed, but I pretend to be outwardly self-obsessed because it lets me sleep at night and gives my life meaning? Listen, all you symbolic Tophs out there. LISTEN! The point is this. Shit. I missed my exit.

What was I saying?

I know. Thanks, Dave. Maybe I've learned something about myself. What I can, and can't give. What I've lost, and what I will lose. That writing a self-conscious memoir is ok, especially if you are self-aware and use self-degradation throughout.

I guess, if you have AIDS, I have AIDS now too. As you bared your soul, bled all over me, and I soaked it all in.

Thanks. You're an asshole. But an asshole I love.
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Quotes Philip Liked

Dave Eggers
“We are all feeding from each other, all the time, every day.”
Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius


Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Reese (new) - added it

Reese Relax- you delivered.


Philip Thanks Reese. :)


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda So glad you enjoyed it, Philip! I read this book about 10 years ago and loved it. I can't remember if I recommended it to you or not, but in any case, I'm glad you read it. Your review is great -- I particularly loved the way you ended it!!!


Philip Thanks! : )


message 5: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich oh man, funny stuff here. Well done.


Philip Thanks, s.


Michael Definitely a little crazy. Makes me want to read the book again!


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