Andy's Reviews > Ishmael

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
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's review
Feb 15, 11

bookshelves: quick-reads
Read from February 09 to 15, 2011

A thought-provoking criticism of sociology/culture. Not exactly sure how many stars I'll give it in the end; for now, 4 is a decent starting point.

For a quick read, Quinn's/Ishmael's message is worth mulling over for a bit. And yes, it's overly clear what their message is to us. Quinn's views aren't revolutionary -- and his lecture-within-a-story doesn't present itself as particularly well-written prose -- but his gorilla power point presentation is worth a read.

Seems like many reviewers are pissed at this book, calling it sexist, cliche, didactic, anti-religion and offensive (among many other hurt-feelings) while others are bidding up the price of gorillas on eBay. I guess it's one of those "You Will Love" or "You Will Hate" books for most... Though in either regard, these acolytes and hypercritics appear to have made up their minds the moment they discover the thrust of Quinn's argument, rather than (what I'd hope is Quinn's intended purpose of) taking things in chapter-by-chapter, lecture-by-lecture and considering Quinn's worldview with an open mind. Might not be your cup of tea; might be your kool-aid. Either way, relax, people. Take a deep breath (k, now let it out) and make up your own mind.

Yes, Quinn's narrator is rather slow on the uptake (which seems to tire many), but I'm assuming this is so he assures his readers "get" Ishmael's message at least as quickly as the narrator does, teaching us slowly, methodically as he does his pupil. (I'd assume Quinn wanted to reach those unfamiliar with similar beliefs as well as those who could nod quickly with the gorilla's questions and breeze through the narrator's struggling attempts at answers.)

So, yes, this is an attempt to creatively lecture his readers... so I guess there's two things to review: his belief system, and his method at presenting it.

// Method // I think I sorta gave my thoughts on that above.

// Belief System // Still sorting that out. I certainly disagree with how a few arguments are made, but I don't think that means the gorilla needs to be tossed out with the bathwater. Then again, my thoughts on his beliefs aren't the reason anyone's going to want to read this, so who cares right? Was I offended? Nope. Was I challenged to take a step back and think about stuff (yes, stuff) for a bit? Sure.

Because if there is anything that this can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because they have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.

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02/09/2011 page 10
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