Jake's Reviews > Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
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's review
Dec 09, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: miserable-feelings, novel, dystopian

Holy crap, book, why did you think you could make me feel like that? Jesus. It was like reliving junior high or that stereotypical dream where you're naked in public. The first half of the book drew up some serious intensity in my stomach, violently turning it into a series of knots. Truly. And the second half didn't actually make me feel much better.

Set in the "not-so-distant future," the book tells the story of the perpetually lovesick and desperate Jewish man Lenny and the perpetually bitchy and unsympathetic Korean girl Eunice. Through diary entries and e-mails, both narrate the story of them, as Lenny begs for her love while Eunice finds an alarming comfort in his. But there's nothing honest or happy about it. Maybe it's a love story for cynics and weirdos. I don't know.

But you see all kinds of influences in the narrative, everything from the standardized societal hipster youth lingo in M.T. Anderon's Feed and the fear of death during a time of modern-day crisis in Don DeLillo's White Noise. There's even a sense of Jonathan Safran Foer's playful and calming Jewish observational misery present.

There are parts that are unreal good, however. And the ending takes a wild turn. The "climax" is pretty exciting, I suppose, as the subtle political unrest becomes not-so-subtle. But, honestly, the book is one long feeling of awkwardness. It's so brutal. I found myself groaning out loud a lot. I guess it's supposed to be a satire, as internet lingo as plagued society and everyone's addicted to their "apperot" (a mixture between an iPhone, a passport, a driver's license and a laptop that you wear as a necklace). It makes some good points without being too intrusive, but...there was just too much desperation in the love, too much sadness in the sex and too much bleakness in society, all without ever really showing that beauty and hope were possible. So...fuck that noise.
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