Dan's Reviews > Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman
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's review
Jan 26, 2008

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Read in January, 2008

Chuck is certainly a good writer. He is, I suppose, a 90's-00's descendant of the Gonzo school of journalism, where the adventures of the writer tend to loom over the alleged subject matter at hand, and I like me a good Gonzo journalist. This book is ostensibly about famous rock musicians who killed themselves or died tragic deaths in flaming plane wrecks. But really it's a memoir of the lovelife of Chuck Klosterman imagined as a travelogue. And, even as such, it's pretty moving at times. Unlike the typical Gonzo approach, Chuck (I feel like I can call him by his first name not only because his writing is so intimate, but also because he thanks the friend who lent me this book in his acknowledgments and her apartment features in one of the more sordid scenes) exudes an honesty, even vulnerability, that is a tonic to the yawning cynicism more common amongst his peers.

I gave this book 3 stars because, as Goodreads says when you mouse over the third star, "I liked it"; I wish I could have given it 3.5 stars, because I almost feel that "I really liked it." But given how it's been lingering on my mind, I suspect that in a month I'll wish I'd been able to give it 3.75 stars, and ultimately I may decide it deserves 4 or even 4.5 stars. We'll see; appended at the end was a wonderful profile of Britney Spears, excerpted from his new book, which turns out to cut right into the heart of why her current troubles actually have some element of import to them. If I find the same tropes in that book--if his apparent sincerity reveals itself as spiel--the 3 (or maybe a 3.5) will be right. I hope he proves me wrong.

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