Chak's Reviews > American Pastoral

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
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's review
Jul 23, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction
Recommended to Chak by: Lorrie Kwest?
Read in May, 2007

** spoiler alert ** I disliked this book so much that I got mad at the author.

I found this book in a cab in 2007. It was in this little pink bag, like it was specifically left for someone to find. It had a card in it that said something about it being the person's (who wrote the card) favorite book of some past year and she signed it "Lorrie Kwest." I asked the driver if he wanted to keep it to turn into lost and found, but he told me to just take it. I felt like I could find this Lorrie Kwest and at least ask her who she just gave the book to. That name seemed so googleable to me. Nothing, not even a white pages search, turned up anything.

After I told a good friend this story, she convinced me that "Lorrie Kwest" was not a real person and it was some sort of karmic code to get the book into my hands, so I ended up reading the book, with the internal promise made to return the book from whence it came.

Here is an excerpt from what I wrote to friends shortly after finishing the book:

"...the book went into so much detail about this one, mysterious character. She appeared over and over again and was constantly on the main guy's mind because he felt she was trying to destroy his life. He questioned himself so many
times about her. Then, the book just ended on a stupid, unsatisfying note and nothing was ever said about this mystery woman. And, no more was said about the guy's daughter who was a very pivotal person in the story. Nothing. It was just chopped off senselessly at the end. Oh, I can't believe I got so into the book and then just totally disappointed at the end. I mean, I know he was trying to say
there were no answers, but c'mon - maybe there were no answers as to why his daughter turned out so bad and how that paralleled Newark/America turning out so bad, but that mystery girl - Rita Cohen - he should have given answers on that. The reader deserved that much!!! Now, I HATE Philip Roth. I'll probably never read another one of his books. Bastard."

I did leave the book (with the original card in it) in the same pink bag in a taxi for some other unsuspecting New Yorker to find. However, I did add a little post-it note explaining that I meant to do that, so that the next person wouldn't go crazy trying to find the owner like I did.
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