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Misconception

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3.09  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Cedar Rivers is on a strange errand. A doctor sidelined into the strange world of the first dot-com boom, he has come to Albany, New York, in between business in Iceland and home in Silicon Valley, to meet a woman he hasn’t seen in twenty years. Then a Chuck Taylor–shod proto-Goth with chipped black nail polish, Kat is now a literary up-and-comer who needs Cedar to vet her ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Grove Press, Black Cat
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Average rating 3.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  247 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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karen
Aug 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
boudinot! boudinot! gosh, that's fun to say... maybe that's why he name-drops himself in the middle of this book.it sounds like he is one of my people, so we will allow such behavior. so this book - imagine the highest three you could ever imagine. that's what this is. i really liked it - it does everything a good book should do as far as originality and developing characters and creating atmosphere. but when it was over, i wanted more, a little. it was rrrrrr to me. because it is practically a ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is supposed to be the story of two friends 20 years later, told through the lens of the female character's memoirs, but it's almost as if the author forgot his own conceit because it doesn't always read with that framing in mind. There are a lot of typical male MFA tropes but it was a quick read, easy to cross off my TBR from ten years ago.
Jasmine
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
Attention Karen: I believe this book to be fantastic.

I read this book two weeks before it is out!!!

Do not let the jacket confuse you this book is not terrible. Although nothing on the outside screams Ryan Boudinot (it screams Chbosky honestly, which is not so enticing [although the harkaway paperback also looks crap so maybe it's a fad:]) the first sentence is the Ryan that we know and love from littlest hitler, "I was suspended in the eighth grade for bringing my semen to science class." It ju
...more
Oriana
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
First line: "In eighth grade, I was suspended for bringing my semen to science class." Hooked!

***

Well, it kinda went downhill from there, though. Here's why I wanted to read this book. From the Powells.com review: Turning the last page of Misconception, you'll be certain that you love Seattle author Ryan Boudinot's style. Oh, you'll like the story fine. It sends readers bouncing into long swoops and back again, the volcano-boarding of this year's literary fiction. In other words, the fun kind of
...more
Katie
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wow! I had to stop myself from reading this all in one sitting because it's definitely a book worth savoring. My faith in fiction is restored.
Lisa Roney
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
I read this book in two and a half hours this morning, and I was disappointed in it. I've read short stories by Boudinot before and enjoyed them much more, though in retrospect they show the same tendency toward a kind of exaggeration that rings false. I loved his short story "The Littlest Hitler"--the idea of sending a kid to school for Halloween dressed as Hitler was hilarious and brilliant. But even that story goes too far when another elementary student shows up in the same class dressed as ...more
Elizabeth
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Spoiler alert.

This book was okay, not great. The whole hook is that the narrator's first girl friend is writing a memoir about their relationship and wants him to read it before it's published to assure her that he won't sue. The hook with the memoir - story within a story- is that she writes chapters as if from his point of view.
I found this confusing in that there were chapters where I wasn't sure if the narrator was talking, or it was the girlfriend (Kat) pretending to be the narrator. It's
...more
Brandon Will
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-novels
This is a fantastic book, told with great humor and pace, using a scenario very believable in today's memoir-saturated moment, to get to the heart of what telling stories is really about, wether they be a tell-all memoir or a bar-stool yarn: processing the past, coming to terms with what you've done, and what those around you have -- and maybe, if you're lucky and open -- why they did it. It's about catharsis through acknowledgment and intensely scouring one's memories, looking at one's past -- ...more
Ariel
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
My review from back in 2009:
"LOL" is an overused expression, but over and over again while reading Ryan Boudinot's "Misconception," I found myself laughing out loud and having to read passages to my husband. This is a short book and a quick read, and despite falling down a tiny bit in the last act, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

The humor of "Misconception" is sharp and crass. The dialog is impeccably naturalistic. This is how people talk! I love it when an author man
...more
Jacob
Dec 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Unigami
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
My daughter saw me reading this and said "Dad, why are you reading a Young Adult book?". I replied that I didn't think it was a YA book because I didn't find it in that section of the library, but yeah, the cover sure looks like one. And um, I didn't tell her this, but yeah, it's mostly a story about a couple 8th grade kids. When I got to the end of the book and found the last several pages were "questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading, and suggestions for films" I realized tha ...more
Stacey
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because Mr. Boudinot is a friend of a friend and was one of my fiancee's writing instructors when she was getting her MFA at Goddard.

I figured I'd whip through this really quickly and I did.

Mr. Boudinot really has a good eye for detail, effortlessly capturing that weird period between childhood and young adulthood. His character Cedar seems a bit more self-aware than most 14 year olds, but maybe I'm just misremembering my own early adolescence.

Nonetheless, I found the story to
...more
Philip
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
I LOVED The Littlest Hitler, and think that Mr. Boudinot is a rare talent for detail and feeling when conveying an era, a place, an emotion �����as such, this book feels like the literary equivalent to a modern and heart-wrenching John Hughes and when I mean modern, I don't mean he is dealing with the now �����as I believe a lot of the current media that revolves around the late 70's and early 80's and has resonance owes something to Mr. Hughes.

Also, Mr. Boudinot has created an interesting frame
...more
Helen
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This one is a snapshot of struggling families, first loves, hard moral dilemmas, violence and all the other things that go with being an adolescent in the imploding family. The narrative jumped back and forth in time but not in a jarring way. In the end there is no satisfactory resolve, as is usually true in life, and you are left with a snapshot of a domino situation gone horribly wrong.

I feel, as I did with the author's collection of short stories The Littlest Hitler, that the shock content is
...more
Janie
Sep 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, pnw
I picked this up at Elliott Bay along with all the other books that are going to have a visiting author in September.

At first it suitably engaged me. Heh. Then it slumped into unpleasant scenes, without relief or wisdom, and overdosed on crass. Bleh. It wrapped up in mediocrity. Meh.

There are some promising empathies, some catchy descriptions. But there's no greater overarching theme. The idea about the fallibility or ex post facto creation of memory is an interesting one, but its connection to
...more
lindsay
Oct 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-2k9
okay, i really appreciate a lot of what this book does in addressing an idea that i think about an awful lot, which is the gap between truth and fiction in memoir and nonfiction...

BUT. i feel like the structure of the book was a little bit bogus. it's compelling, and i actually am not ever really grossed out by stories about what teen boys masturbate to and how often, but setting the story inside a story about the characters as adults feels like a big cheat, because there is very little developm
...more
Kiana
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harry
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This clever page-turner can be read in an afternoon. There's a page-turning story that seems ripe for a screenplay, and there's enough narrator switcheroos to keep book clubs talking.

It's the story of a teen romance told in flashback. There's teen lust, crappy parents, meaningful trips to Burger King, and a finale that ends with shootings. At times it seems a bit too pat, and certain charactes aren't fleshed out, but there are amazing scenes that will stick with you. I needed something to read
...more
Jonfaith
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Boudinot's panache carried me away, just as the latest black clouds and rambling thunder swept over the house. The storms departed with less than expected rain and I turned the final page. Reviewing one's progress is essential here. It struggles along the terrain of Sense of An Ending but with the last sentences being but another pomo contortion of the kaleidoscope. The leap between this and Blueprints of the Afterlife is far wider than even between The Bends and OK Computer. There is much to po ...more
Sara
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It was entertaining and kept me interested. I had to keep reminding myself that the characters are supposed to be in 8th-9th grade however. Some of the dialogue was just so grown up. I enjoyed the remembrance of being 14, but there was a lot of masturbation that I wasn't expecting.

Overall I enjoyed it and read it in about three days. In think it is aptly titled.
Jenna
Sep 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about semen, perception and truth, although perhaps not necessarily in that order. It shifted narrators and time periods in a very interested way, as if I was examining the same object from many different angles. The book also shifted tones, going from funny to sad to sweet to ominous, naturally as the story progressed. Interestingly told.
Jamie L
Oct 06, 2009 rated it liked it
This book took approximately three hours to read and I'm a slow reader.

Author is writing a novel/memoir about her teen years and contacts her jr high b/f to have him read the book and sign some papers promising not to sue her. While he reads the book, they reminisce.

It's an easy, fast, non-thinking read...try it on a plane or train ride.
Lynn
Jun 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
I read this book as part of the Fiction Expert reader/reviewer program while working at Borders. It is one of the few I read as part of that program that I didn't like. In retrospect I would classify it as "noirish." Not my cup of tea. About the only redeeming quality is that the story did hold together...
Kristin
The Oregonian published my review on September 3, 2009, and here's a link to it:
http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index...
(If the byline is incorrect when you view this, please know that that's being corrected.)
...more
Renee
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomchoice
I've been waiting ages for Ryan's next book to come out, and it did not let me down. Great writing. At one point, I had to put the book down and laugh at the way he wrote himself in. Brilliant. I started it last night and set my alarm to get up early to finish it...that good.
Kevin
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny-stuff
Boudinot strikes again. After his stellar collection of stories, he brings us a novel that somehow manages to be simple but complex--a fiction about memory, memoir, and well, in many ways, sperm. Boudinot is just so good at making reading fun and funny--and this is one fun book for sure!
Sycobabel
A quick read, read it in a couple of hours. Witty, believable (even in it's clever falseness), and also incredibly painful. Boudinot (who taught a class I attended) perfectly captures the horror of love and memories.
Levi
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
There is a lot to love about this book, but it also left me wanting more in some areas, and confused in others. Perhaps that was intentional? In the end it's beautifully written and funny and sad and affecting and all that good stuff, so I say yay and 4 stars it is.
Elizabeth
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Eh. It was tough to figure out this book, given that there were three narrators and all of them sounded alike. I might have been moved to parse it more closely but I realized that I didn't really care about any of the characters that much. I sent it back to the library.
Jen
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super interesting idea and well put together, although it works kind of like a reverse bell curve. Start and end are fabulous but the middle kind of stalls. Loved the device of Cedar finding the Amazon review written by Boudinot. It was a nice little read.
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Ryan Boudinot is the author of the novels Blueprints of the Afterlife and Misconception, and the story collections The Octopus Rises and The Littlest Hitler.

Ryan received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Bennington College. He also holds a BA from The Evergreen State College. Born in the US Virgin Islands, he grew up in Skagit Valley, in Washington State, and now lives in S
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