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3.06  ·  Rating details ·  779 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence—pasty, soft, and high—who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.

Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Fo
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published 2012)
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Carrie Ardoin
Eli Schwartz doesn't have much going for him. He's a couple years out of high school but doesn't attend college. In fact, he doesn't do much of anything. He lives in his mom's basement, caught in a numbing cycle of drugs, internet surfing, and loneliness. The only things he has going for him are his love of cooking and his hyperactive imagination, which he combines with his immense knowledge of movies and TV to create scenes in his head featuring the people in his world.

So needless to say, he is
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
If an episode of "Community" and one of those Hold Steady songs about college townies had a novelized lovechild, it would probably end up looking something like Flatscreen. It's aggressively self-aware, and replete with pop culture references, alternate universe endings, and bizarre characters. It's also incredibly dirty and druggy.

To date, I had only read glowing reviews, which I think overhyped the novel a bit. Flatscreen has its moments of humor, but it's never laugh-out-loud funny. The secon
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fermoimmagine
All Alone is All We Are

- accompagnamento musicale obbligatorio:

- accompagnamento musicale opzionale:

Già leggendo poche recensioni si intuisce una facile verità:
il protagonista, l'ingombrante Eli Schwartz,è un loser della peggior specie, un pappamolle maleodorante e verbalmente ripugnante, rob
Jennifer Rayment
Feb 27, 2012 rated it liked it
The Good Stuff

Totally bizarre and unique
Some of the dialogue (and inner dialogue) is LMAO funny
Good writing
Excellent character development
All of the characters feel very realistic like people you would see on the street
Dark and quirky - sort of reminds me of something that Apatow would make into a movie

The Not So Good Stuff

Eli is a loser and I just found myself disliking him and feeling uncomfortable because he was so pathetic
Language is over the top base and vulgar at times & I am n
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Guy's my brother's age who are just trying to figure things out
This was a decent read.

I really liked the unique descriptions Adam Wilson uses throughout the book, as well as, the bullet point lists. What I didn't like was the blurb on the front cover toting how 'hilarious' this book was because I'm not sure it's meant to be a comedy, per say. A comedy of errors maybe, because Adam Wilson uses humor to cover up Eli Schwartz's insecurities, makes uncomfortable situations more bearable, and hides all the character's inner sadnesses. These are all great ways t
Jack Cheng
A little disappointed at the guys who blurbed this book. I didn't nearly die from laughter, like Gary Shteyngart, nor did I find this bleakly funny like Tom Perotta (Yes, I'm calling out blurbers!)

This is the story of Eli, a slacker who didn't go to college and takes a lot of drugs, masturbates, and is told he is "funny" so he manages to get laid every once in a while. (A 3 year drought suddenly erupts into casual encounters with a former classmate, the mother of a former classmate, and even sor
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
FLATSCREEN was a fun fast read, if you have a depressing idea of fun. The prose was moving and poetic. Wilson painted an interesting depiction of the inner lives of the dysfunctional people who reside in an upper-middle class predominantly Jewish suburb.

Twenty year-old Eli Strauss’s conflict begins when his mother sells his childhood home where he has been purposelessly toiling away since his high school graduation, to Seymour Kahn, a disabled drug addicted former actor/porn star. Being uproote
David Dinaburg
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the book but found it personally distasteful. I don't like sex in my media; it makes me uncomfortable. I do not to critique others for my bizarre, puritanical bent. Sex is normal and fine and good, but I don't like hearing about it, reading about it, seeing it. Don't make out on subway cars. I'll like a romance well enough, but as soon as physical intimacy is described, I don't see what benefits are to be gained by adding explicit details. Offscreen implications of raucous behavior, sure ...more
Jonas Blank
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Visceral, to-the-gut writing and hard-edged, dark humor made Flatscreen a winner for me. It takes us deep into Eli's psychology and gives a bleak take on post-Millennial life.

Eli's a jerk, but so what? His observations are humorous, personal and inventively rendered. I don't think the material is any more "vulgar" than John Updike, Hunter S. Thompson or any other successful writers of their respective ilk. It depicts life without a pleasant false veneer, without manners or varnish. In that sense
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
The reader is alive. I read Adam Wilson's FLATSCREEN. It was very funny and wet. Wilson is a writer who is not afraid to be wet and by wet I mean full of heart. What an imagination he has! It's hi-def Portnoy 8.0 -- bulleted, netflixed, skiied, domed and quarterlife-crisised. I dreamt one of the characters from FLATSCREEN was Kathy Bates in Misery, but a male Kathy Bates with tentacles. This book is a pleasure. So curious to see what Wilson writes next.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
You know, the first 45 pages of this were hysterical. However, as it went along, it got more and more disarming, and just sad. It turned out to be a sad little book. I guess it's supposed to be darkly comic, but I just found the dark. It's probably something I can go back months from now and read, but in the meantime, I have to say I'm not digging it at this moment.
Josh Drimmer
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't know where the initial recommendation came from, but this was the rare book I got through 7 pages of, said to myself, "I'm really not enjoying these jokes, and they're just gonna keep coming," and had to put down and send back. Overly jokey books can get on my wrong side quickly- I really liked, but sometimes was worn down by "The Ask," for example.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilson's voice is Bukowski-esque, but there is far more substance, plot development, and character depth in this novel than anything I've read by Bukowksi. Adam Wilson has a real gem here. I loved this book. Eli is a dead-beat, lazy pothead, but readers can't help but to care about him. I'd recommend this book to the younger crowd, and I'll definitely be nagging my friends to read it.
Gino Alfonso
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing novel if Woody Allen, John Hughes and David O. Russell had an illigimate child it would be Adam Wilson and his characters. Superbly funny and poignant had me laughing on every page and thinking about some of my own choices in life. Can't wait for a movie, but it would have to be done by the right filmmakers. Thanks for the nostalgia Adam!
Katie Myers
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. All the things I want from a book, but am scared of for my life.
Mary Lynn Archibald
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gross but good.
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non male,consigliato
Melissa McCauley
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Eli Schwartz is a non-so-lovable loser. Rich kid from a Boston suburb who barely finished high school because he spent all his time stoned; no college, no job, no life. Eli and his mother both seem to be caught in a cycle of depression since the divorce four years ago. When his mom decides to make a change and announces she is selling the family home, Eli is thrown into a tizzy and does almost everything possible to avoid growing up. Although the book is well-written, I had to force myself to ke ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa McGuire
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't even know what to say about this book. The whole first part had no story development and I was bored I couldn't get into it. The second part was okay. But the third part is where everything made sense and Eli smartened up and started being a adult
Tim Pierce
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I think it's very telling that the author of this book, in his acknowledgements, first thanked his classmates and teachers in his MFA program, because that's how this book reads - as some sort of final project for a modern lit master's thesis. It has all of the elements (or should I say, cliches?) of the typical modern alt-lit work; the one-page chapter, the bullet-list chapters of life observations, the slacker-chic nihilistic outlook, etc. etc. etc.

And that's the problem with this book - ever
Kim Herrington
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-for-ya
Eli Schwartz is a fat, lazy pothead, slacker, who loves to cook fancy dinners like he sees on Food Network shows. He lives with his mom but doesn't work or go to college and so has been financially cut off by his dad. Instead of following his older brother's example and going off to college with his friends, he has stayed home and done nothing really. Then he befriends the drug-addicted, paraplegic former child star who buys his family home. The friendship leads to increased drug use, more chanc ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
What do you do when you’re in the basement of life both literally and metaphorically? “Flatscreen” an uproarious novel from Adam Wilson considers this through the life and times of Eli. Told with no holds barred honesty by Eli the reader laughs and cringes as Eli slinks through life, still struggling to cope with his family being torn apart as a young kid (his family has done all it can to sweep it under the rug and not really deal with the issue), he’s become trapped in a slacker drug addicted ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro non ha niente che non vada. Un bel protagonista, ben tratteggiato, sfigato, eterno adolescente, drogato e riflessivo come piace a me. Eli è solo, disperato, fa una cazzata dopo l'altra e la sua vita fa schifo, ma va avanti lo stesso, più per inerzia che altro. In realtà non è idiota come tutti credono, anzi, è molto sensibile, ama il cinema e la buona cucina, vorrebbe una famiglia e tanto affetto, vorrebbe smettere di impasticcarsi e cominciare a vivere, costruire relazioni vere con ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Funny, smart, and sad all at the same time. It's a book about suburbia and what it'd actually mean to stay here and live an unexamined life. Drugs, sex, music, and mostly a whole lot of boredom - that's Eli's life. Even after he lands a surrogate father figure, he can't quite rouse himself out of this stupor... because it just doesn't really seem worth it. It's a "slacker novel to end all slacker novels" because he isn't disaffected or rebelling - he just doesn't really care. There's nothing beh ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
“Flatscreen” is a very disappointing novel. It is pretentiously overwritten, and the style is not consistent. It also boasts very unsympathetic characters. I did not care about a single one of them. It is a quick read, which is the reason it gets 2 stars. If it had been a slow read it would have been unbearable.
However, there are a few moments where the writing rises above the author’s talents. Pages 214 and 220 have examples of some good stuff in them, but mostly the text is not well executed,
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is way more vulgar than I expected. There's plenty of sexual imagery and humor. What kept me reading was the interesting way Wilson broke up the narrative with very brief chapters about his family members, himself, and his psychology. Additionally, references to Seinfeld, The Big Lebowski, and other visual forms of entertainment intrigued me and helped me to connect more with the narrator.

You have this twenty-something schlub living near Boston, who talks about an area in which I grew
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's hard to be truly objective about Wilson's debut novel since I knew the author growing up and the fictional Boston suburb the story is set in is not very hard to recognize as inspired by the real one we grew up in. He definitely nails the atmosphere of our era of suburban young adulthood. That said, I think the book stands well on its own merits. Wilson has a deft control of language and it shines through with humor on most pages. I might not recommend the book to my mother because of the ra ...more
Mar 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex. He is a loser par excellence?pasty, soft, and high?who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new. Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Eli?s old family home. The two begin a d ...more
Paolo Aceves
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, fiction, comedy
Eli Schwartz has been for most of his life a true slacker; from a broken home, living with his mom under the umbrella that is his rich father. Always being taken care of, at least financially, submerging himself in TV, movies and drugs he is the epitome of this generation's child-adults. Things change for him when his mother decides to sell the house he grew up in to a former actor and his dad cuts him off due to his drug use. Eli begins a journey to grow up, but not before hitting bottom. Fille ...more
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Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and the collection of short stories What's Important Is Feeling. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, VICE, and The Best American Short Stories, among many other publications. In 2012 he received the Terry Southern Prize, which recognizes "wit, panache, and sprezzatura" in work published ...more
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