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House of Cards: The True Story of How a 26-Year-Old Fundamentalist Virgin Learned about Life, Love, and Sex by Writing Greeting Cards
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House of Cards: The True Story of How a 26-Year-Old Fundamentalist Virgin Learned about Life, Love, and Sex by Writing Greeting Cards

2.99  ·  Rating details ·  269 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
A hilarious and honest memoir by an ex-greeting card writer, ex- virgin fundamentalist, and current This American Life contributor.

When David Dickerson landed his dream job-at Hallmark writing greeting cards-he discovered his limited life experience as a fundamentalist- raised, 26-year-old virgin left him woefully unprepared for the worldly sentiments he was expected to
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Riverhead Books (first published September 22nd 2009)
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Rating details
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David Peters
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am disappointed that I have to give this book such a low rating, because I was hoping for so much more. The thing that is most troublesome, Dickerson is an excellent writer. The story flowed without and chunky plot or dialogue, and it was very readable. In fact, if it had been fiction, I would have probably given it a four; I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a novel by this author even after this book. I also like the inside look at how a company is the best in the world at what it does (Hallmark ...more
I suppose my main beef with "House of Cards" isn't quite Dickerson's fault, or even his publisher's, as the subtitle reads "Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions." Nevertheless, in all the blurbs of praise I read about this memoir, including the three on the back, nobody mentioned that the book devotes a lot of time to thinking about Christianity in its various incarnations, interpretations of the bible, the nature of faith, and that sort of thing. I don't like books being surprisingly about ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Two stars for this memoir about David Dickerson’s short career at Hallmark Cards. One of two things would have had to happen for me to give this book a higher rating. Either I would have to like Dickerson more, or the story about Hallmark should have been more interesting. This is all despite the fact that I think Dickerson is a good writer – his prose are readable, clear, precise and concise.

As to the former, the author came across to me as a self-absorbed whiner who was socially and profession
Michael Martin
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
(caution: spoilers)

First of all, be VERY suspicious of any book that compares the author to David Sedaris. In this case, the comparison must be because they have the same first name.

"House of Cards" could have been an interesting 200 page look into the behind-the-scenes creation of Hallmark cards and a skewered look inside the greeting card business.

Instead we get a 360-page memoir that is actually much more about the author's sexual frustration
and religious baggage. He covers the same 'I'm so h
Rachel Kramer Bussel
House of Cards is about many things: cards, humor, puzzles, creativity, love, sex and religion. David Ellis Dickerson winds up getting what seems like his dream job at Hallmark. He thinks that because he's a puzzle lover (having proposed to his girlfriend via crossword puzzle) and because he's passionate about cards, that it'll be a perfect fit. He introduces readers to a world of categories and subcategories, for holidays you've heard of and holidays you haven't, but the heart of this book is D ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, first-reads
I won this book through the first reads program and was anxious to read it. First of all, while the saying is that you can't judge a book by its cover, this book has a great title and cover, and anywhere I went with it, people would ask me about it. So there's definitely props to be given there.

I've struggled a bit over what exactly to rate this book. On one hand, I loved hearing about the greeting card business--how cards are written, chosen for production, tracked, etc. I even enjoyed reading
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
Like a lot of people (I suspect), I used to want to work at Hallmark. It just seems...creative and fulfilling, but also super-easy. This was a pretty fascinating view into that forgotten childhood dream of mine. There was also a spiritual-journey story arc that I enjoyed but thought was kind of underdeveloped. Then there's the sexual-journey aspect, which...I found it pretty funny, but it seems to have failed to amuse other Goodreaders...I dunno how you could read the prostitute/Handel's Messiah ...more
I have to admit, I'm torn about the rating of this book...mostly because it felt like two completely different books: one a religious journey and the other a memoir about a socially retarded (can you say retarded anymore? Whatever, I’m saying it.) man trying to navigate through a horrid job, a sex-less partnership (even though the new rage is to declare one’s self a “virgin” despite the fact that they’ve done everything else, I think we can all agree that’s bullsh**) and all the while trying to ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
I won this book as a giveaway so at least I didn't have to pay for it. I initially planned to give it to a good friend who told me she always thought it would be interesting to write greeting cards, but now I'm going to have to tell her she can't have it. Part of me wants to throw it away.
This isn't really a story about what it's like to work for Hallmark or write greeting cards. This is a memoir of Dickerson's many sexual and religious hang-ups. I started off the book liking him - a slightly g
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this person, well, not in the flesh, but by habits and quirks, David is a lot like me.

Recovered evangelical.
Late blooming virgin.
Overenthusiastic geek of many stripes turned cynic looking for a better path and greater love of fellow human beings.

The book is a drag to read at parts, depressing at parts, never hits the point of elation, everything low key, true to life, and a lot of Amen, Brutha.

Reading it was time well spent.

What prompted me to run out and buy this book was this YouTube of
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The jacket blurbs promising knee-slapping hilarity are way too glowing, but I ended up liking this quite a bit because it's an accurate depiction of office life. His experiences at Hallmark weren't much different than mine in aerospace: eccentric coworkers, flaky bosses, the horror of getting the "bad" cubicle. And the book has a sweet-natured but not icky tone -- more like a wry Shoebox card than one with a bouquet of daisies covered with "flitter." (That godawful sparkly stuff that lands every ...more
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: firstreads
Not exactly what I expected, which was irreverent, honest, and laugh-out-loud funny. Which isn't to say that it wasn't all of these things, because it was - just not to the degree that I had expected. I wanted to hear about the greeting card, life, and love part; not so much the fundamentalist virgin-sex part, and I didn't like what he had to say about Christianity. So not that this is a horrible book, just that it wasn't my kind of book.

House of Cards from Penguin via Goodreads.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book despite a slew of negative reviews I found online. I guess I just had to make sure they were right. The author just whines about everything. He's got the great job, he whines, he has the sucky job, he whines. There's no escape to his endless whining, and his endless self-praise. Just skip it.
Kater Cheek
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I met the author of this book, and as he says, he's $5000 funnier in person. It's not that the book isn't funny (it is) it's just unlike the real Dave, book Dave doesn't come across as someone I'd necessarily like to be friends with. The book reminds me most of BORN ON A BLUE DAY, a memoir of a highly verbal autistic man with synesthesia and numerous compulsions, including the compulsion to memorize things. Book Dave has scary-high levels of sexual repression, zero social skills, and a catalog o ...more
Todd Stockslager
I thought this might be an interesting book about what it is like to write greeting cards for a living. While there is a bit of that here (working for Hallmark in the mid-1990's was both more prosaic and more weird than you'd expect), mostly this is just about Dave.

And Dave's problems. He's a relapsed evangelical Christian. He's been engaged to his girlfriend for six years, and they remain faithful even though for three of those years she's been away working on her PhD and they see each other on
Lea Ann
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Ok. This book was certainly different than my normal read. I'm not much of a memoir person and it might be because I don't think memoirs end up being very honest or it might be because I find them frustratingly awkward. This would fall into the second half.

The book is about the author, who leaves a no-where job in Tucson Arizona and head to Kansas City, Missouri to work for the Greeting Card Company, Hallmark. Within the first few chapters the writer seemingly goes from portraying himself as in
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Conversationally pleasant writing?
Seems like a sweet, smart guy?
Would welcome him as a colleague or neighbor or bud? Check.

And also:
WAAAAAY Too Much Information?
David Sedaris's heir apparent?

It's somewhat a shame that David Ellis Dickerson's publishers insisted on using a quote comparing the dueling Daves to sell this memoir. That's a mighty high bar. Trading on their This American Life connection, no doubt, but did the label not realize that ranking him against on
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Good and bad.

Very original premise - a memoir about a man who works in the greeting card industry, covering his career, aspirations, love life, religious background.

Author gets hired to go to the Taj Mahal, the Mecca, nay the very Zion of the U.S. greeting card industry -- i.e., Hallmark headquarters in one of the Carolinas (as I recall).

Author is creative, incisive, has a huge sense of humor, is not afraid to cast himself in an embarrassing light though he's also a marked e
May 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
First off, the blurbs on the book liken David Ellis Dickerson to David Sedaris. David Sedaris is laugh until you cry and snort funny. David Ellis Dickerson is funny, but not David Sedaris funny. Dickerson is funny in a cynical, self effacing sort of way.

I won this book off of goodreads first reads. It looked interesting. It looked funny. It is interesting (Who knew Hallmark was such a horrible place to work?) and it has it's funny parts, but when you read these parts, you mostly just cringe for
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
I liked this book a lot even though, at its core, it is hollow. It is funny and witty, it follows the adventures of an altogether likeable buffoon, but it lacks real insight, and while it alludes to insight as being a thing that happened, it never really shares it with us, even as as allusion of what is to come. It's a shame because it has the opportunity, but it fails to understand, fully, what was happening and what has happened as a result.

It's frustrating, to see, for instance, a massive, l
Jeff Raymond
Sometimes a book looks really, really interesting, and it turns out that the story being told is ultimately not one that should be presented in the form it is. House of Cards is one of those books.

I won this from a Goodreads First Reads contest, and I thought the premise was interesting enough. That Dickerson is an NPR contributor certainly helped matters. Unfortunately, this book more made me hope I don't ever sound like him, and really brought the entire experience down. A significant portion
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dave has been hired for his creativity at Hallmark. It is is first real job after college. He learns the hard way that his co-workers and supervisors want him to be creative only on paper. While he is navigating the often backstabbing corporate world, he is also addressing issues in his "perfect" relationship with his fiance.

This book is full of hysterical greeting card sentiments and moments of painful self-awareness. It's well written and co
I received a free copy of House of Cards through the First Reads program. When I first read about this book, it sounded intriguing because I thought it would be funny. Instead, it became a compelling read because I kept thinking, "so this is the low point, and now we'll get to the point where his life gets better." But I'm not sure that point ever really came. Elie Wiesel wrote that he really resisted writing a memoir, because doing so implied that your life was over and you were summing up. Tha ...more
DJ Bigalke
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John G.
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Actually, 2.5 stars, I've often thought about greeting cards and have come up with some dark and inappropriate ideas for some, so very interested in this foray into the world of greeting cards. Many have mentioned this in their reviews, but the author just really comes off as basically unlike able, shallow and more than a bit of the pedantic twit. Funny to see him yearn to become an academic and atheist, quite telling since I have intense dislike of both of those groups. There were so interestin ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm conflicted on how I feel about this book. On the one hand, it is quite funny in parts - but on the other hand, it is a bit tedious. I thought the premise was good (fundamentalist virgin writing about 'stuff'), but there was so much unimportant drivel that I was quite bored toward the end. In the beginning there was a lot more about the process of writing greeting cards (and as a self-reported card connoisseur, I was intrigued by this), however, I felt that the book was more about the experie ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really did enjoy House of Cards by David Ellis Dickerson. I found that his tales of corporate life and trying to fit into something that you really want to like hit close to home. I've always felt that the corporate world, while a place where I can function, isn't really the best place for me. People like Mr. Dickerson (and me) aren't really cut out for the kinds of policies and espionage and smiling between clenched teeth that tend to mark these places.

The memoir is a really quick and enjoya
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-won
I won this book in the First Reads Giveaway and am thankful I had the opportunity to read it.

The book is a memoir of Dickerson's time working with the Hallmark Greeting Card Company. The author comes from a fundamentalist Christian background but has already converted to Catholicism which is the religion of his fiancee. Even though he no longer has the beliefs he grew up with he is still trying to come to terms with what he believes and about his sexuality. But really a good part of the book fo
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