Gina's Reviews > A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
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's review
Apr 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-reads
Read from April 08 to 18, 2012

I was drawn in by Eggers prose - his fast paced, manic style, the tender portraits of friends and family, and genuine interest in the fate of all the characters, people I came to care for too. This is a well crafted story. He is a master story teller and the story has natural arcs, without cheap and annoying cliff hangers a lesser author would employ. His characters are fully fleshed and I love the way he characterizes each city, each place, as he would a character in the novel. He has such a unique way of looking at the world, and one of his best attributes as a writer are his vivid places. He discusses life as art, art as entertainment, the commodification of art, and this is what brings this memoir from the realm of humorous writing/memoir and into the realm a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

I'm a little surprised, looking at the other reviews, how many people just totally panned this book. It sounds like the other reviewers were annoyed by the narrators voice, which is understandable. At time, Eggers self-interest turns into narcissism, and his self consciousness can become cloying. He also employs some gimmicks - there are drawings, some talking to the reader. If you come away complaining about it being "too clever," I think you really missed the point. I imagine these are the same people who hate "The Catcher and the Rye." Perhaps Eggers navel-gazing hits a little to close to home for some.

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