Larry Buhl's Reviews > The Best American Essays 2011

The Best American Essays 2011 by Edwidge Danticat
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Apr 18, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

Approx. four out of five essays are great. Not all are essays in the traditional sense. Some are more memoir, some experimental, some more journalistic. Many have to do with loss and death, always fertile themes. Standouts are:

- Tropic of Cancer, Christopher Hitchens' account of his cancer diagnosis
- Generation Why, about how Facebook is increasing triviality and meaninglessness of modern life
- What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones, about the death of a young black girl and how it relates to the dystopia that is modern Detroit (the city relies on revenue from reality shows that exploit its dysfunction)
- What Broke My Father's Heart, a simple, unadorned account of the medical industrial complex's insistence on keeping a dying old man alive longer than he or anyone wanted him to be. For anyone with an elderly or near-elderly parent, it's disturbing.
- Pearl, Upward. A girl from the sharecropper south moving to the big city alone.

Duds are:

- A-loc. What is this about? Has to do with dreams and plane crashes.
- Grieving. A wife recounting how her husband fell apart after he was denied tenure at his university. Who cares? Get a job.
- Buddy Ebsen. Didn't get it.

A few I didn't read.
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