Kevan's Reviews > Self

Self by Yann Martel
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's review
Jul 02, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: didn-t-quite-finish-reading
Read in July, 2008

It is SO HARD FOR ME TO LIKE THIS BOOK. It's like somebody told Yann Martel: "You know what's really hot in contemporary lit right now? Poetry, transgender issues, and made-up memoirs. YOU should write one."

People read autobiographies because the personalities behind them have led fascinating, meaningful existences. If you're going to MAKE UP an autobiography, you have the opportunity to magically create some of that aforementioned fascinating-ness: "There, have some meaning! BAMMO, be a fascinating character!" Look, Martel has the chance to invent a whole life: instead of inventing an interesting one, he obliges us to observe the flat, emotionless life of a 20-something who stumbles through the story with a barely-there passiveness, where the only non-ordinary thing that occurs is an inexplicable gender change.
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02/21 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha I had to read this book for a class.
I am so F*ing confused!? what the hell is going on. man, women, man, homosexual, transgendered, hetrosexual. i am so lost???

Wendy It's supposed to be the twin...I know. I don't get the appeal of this one.

message 3: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Mcshane You really missed the point. The book is not at all about an inexplicable gender change, though the story may be. The book is about perception and how men and women see the world. One person is forced to see things from two different perspectives. The fact that you say emotionless is what really made me think you missed the point. Its not about a transgender 20 something year old.. its about what the transgender 20 year old is feeling, smelling, tasting and hearing and about how it effects him. It is called self because it is supposed to raise the questions about who, what, when, where and why we are who we are. This is a very deep and interesting novel and you really just did not get it at all. And by the way, Martel always writes his novels as the narrator, Life of PI and Beatrice and Virgil were written the same way. That being said.. both of those books are way higher on my list than this one. If you did not like this book at least now you can not like what it is really about instead of the narrow story you think you were reading. ]

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