Kathy's Reviews > Lightning Rods

Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt
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's review
Mar 07, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012, t-o-b-2012
Read from March 05 to 07, 2012

This book seemed like it was trying to win the reader’s admiration mainly based on its shock factor. But like the main character, Joe, this book was not a good salesperson for itself.

Once I got past some of the more vivid accounts of Joe’s sexual fantasies and the product he develops based on them, I was even able to laugh out loud a bit. But, I’m left to wonder, what is this satire a satire about? Corporate America? Political-correctness gone awry? The male gaze? Sexual harassment policies? Male-female relationships in the office? The entrepreneurial spirit in America? The utter stupidity and absurdity of human beings in general? I’m really not sure.

Everyone talked like a used car salesman, “I hear what you’re saying, but…” and “Gosh. That’s a great idea. I’d never thought of that before…” and it drove me crazy. Not just Joe, but everyone, and I got tired of that after awhile, even though I’m sure that was one of DeWitt’s points. It just got old. (Oh, and a pet peeve...several typos in the book, including Lighting Rods for Lightning Rods...come on.)

And the narration kept hinting at all the big problems that were coming to rain down on poor Joe, who just couldn’t see what was going to go wrong…but where does that ever happen?

I breezed through it pretty quickly but was glad to be done. Just not my kind of book.

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