Andrew Breslin's Reviews > Fraud: Essays

Fraud by David Rakoff
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Oct 18, 2011

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I pity David Rakoff. It must be tough to go through life as a witty and urbane gay writer of amusingly embellished autobiographical essays frequently featured on This American Life named David, unless you are the other one. I'm not even going to say the other one's name, because I'm sure 90% of the reviews on here already mention it, and I want to stand out from the crowd.

(Hint: it ryhmes with "Ted, wear this.")

Yes, it's very well written and quite funny, but it's not fall-off-your-chair-laughing-until-it-hurts-and-then crawl-back-up-and-read-the-same-passage-again-to-see-if-it-will-still-have-the-same-impact-and-it-does funny. It's just a chuckle-lightly-to-yourself funny, occasionally peppered with an observation that might be mildly interesting, but could not be described as "thought-provoking" unless your thoughts are Irish and drunk.

When my niece was a baby, I looked a little bit like her daddy. At the time, we both sported bushy red beards and wore glasses. I recall an incident where she saw me and after a moment of joy, her face transformed into a gape of horror, followed by a wellspring of tears and screams. Because I looked enough like her daddy for her to briefly mistake me for him, but then she was crushed with disappointment at discovering an avuncular counterfeit.

I expect Rakoff suffers a similar reaction from readers. His writing and persona are enough like something very familiar and beloved by many that its failure to duplicate cannot be forgiven. I'm sorry to say he will never ever escape the comparison and will never be judged fairly. My pity can only go so far. I can't imagine he'd be nearly as successful as he has been were it not for the association, and the other David has a blurb, right there on the cover, which should make it clear that he'd rather be rich than judged on his own merits. He may be a fraud, but he's not a fool.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Andrew Breslin Awwwww! Thanks! I <3 you too. :)

Andrew Breslin I just reread this review after a nice person liked it. I haven't seen it in a while, and it appears that I have lost my mind at the end there with a comment to no one. I assure you, I was replying to someone, but the comment that prompted my reply is gone now, and I don't remember what it said or who said it.

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