karen's Reviews > The Instructions

The Instructions by Adam Levin
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's review
Dec 25, 2010

really liked it

fortunately, all the literary lynch mobs are occupied settling that mark twain business, so i can slip in here and give this book four stars instead of five with minimal outcry. this book is excellent. at times, it is perfect. this is the highest four a four can be before becoming a five - put down that torch, straggler!

and after finishing it, i feel somewhat stunned, drained, like wandering blinkingly outside after a movie marathon. i need a moment. but what i can say now, with certainty, is that it is a remarkable book, and a pleasure to read, despite its daunting length. it reads much more quickly than it would seem, and i will probably read it again.

having said that, my quibbles are minor and have to do mostly with consistency and follow-through.i'm sure it is really really hard to write a book of this length, and when you have spent nine years on it, it is hard to part with any of the elements of it, even when you have someone as astute and gentle as oriana on your side to guide you.so i am totally sympathetic to and in awe of this book's existing at all.

and i know my gentile status makes me miss out on certain resonances - reverberations of religious significance that even a faux-jew like greg would feel stirrings in his soul over, because this is the jewiest of all books ever.i have picked up some stuff in my way through life, but i am no israelite; gurion would have looked right past me, leaving me to defend myself with my saxophone.

and that's all i am really willing to say. i approve of the caution most reviewers have shown regarding this book - no one wants to commit to a book of this size if they know what happens. this is why i will probably never read anna karenina, because everyone (except ariel) knows what happens there (except she knows now because i totally ruined her life), and i want everyone to read this book.

but if you must know, it is a potential-messiah story told in the first person that attempts to answer the question - gurion maccabee: ten-year-old messiah, or just an articulate thug?

and because greg shared his and mine is different:

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Reading Progress

December 25, 2010 – Started Reading
December 25, 2010 – Shelved
January 6, 2011 –
page 848
January 6, 2011 –
page 976
94.76% "so freaking close!"
January 7, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 163) (163 new)

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

oh fun! enjoy!!

message 2: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine are you done yet? are you done yet? are you done yet?

Krok Zero Ugh, I'm halfway done and you'll probably reach the finish line before me, what with your fast reading skillz.

message 4: by Jasmine (last edited Dec 25, 2010 05:01PM) (new) - added it

Jasmine don't feel bad, she started the seducer like 2 weeks after me and was through at least 2 of the books before I finished the one. She's amazing

message 5: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney now i have competition. i'm still working on this book. but now school's over and i have all day today maybe i can get somewhere. :P

karen no, not at all - that's why this will take me awhile. i have to bake all day again, and clean, and i have late presents to mail, and presents for my family to buy for when i get to see them. but i feel mush better about it all.

plus, we may have a blizzard today.

please, blizzard, please!!

message 7: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney I feel the same way Karen. I am like asking the sky, "Where's my snow?" haha.

message 8: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I spent yesterday watching them keep pushing back the time 6pm, 9pm, 1am, 3am, 6am. Now it is finally snowing, but not blizzarding.

I hope the plow in my neighborhood

message 9: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney there saying the blizzard over in NJ is supposed to start at 5pm. it was 4pm 2 hours ago.

message 10: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney *they're... i've only been out of school for a week and my grammar has already gone to crap.

message 11: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine Courtney wrote: "there saying the blizzard over in NJ is supposed to start at 5pm. it was 4pm 2 hours ago."

no it wasn't-

message 12: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney on weather.com it was. it might have been 4 hours ago. i'm all mixed up today.

message 13: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I'm confused. it's 11 am.

message 14: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney i meant they were saying the blizzard was going to start at 4pm and then they changed it to 5pm. i wasn't saying now it's 4pm. hope you get it now.

message 15: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I get it. did it really start at 5?

message 16: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney noooooo... it's not 5pm yet. i was talking about weather.com predicting the blizzard starting at 5pm today.

message 17: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine oh. i get it. I thought you meant yesterday. for new york it was saying last night it would start. weather is so confusing.

message 18: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney yeah it is.

message 19: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I think part of the problem is bad math. they said 100% chance of heavy snow last night. it was clearly not 100%.

Oriana squee! Karen, I'm so excited that you're reading this & I can't wait to hear what you think. I also feel kinda responsible for your enjoyment here, so I really hope you like it...

karen so far, so good!!! but my reading time had been compromised....WHY MUST I HAVE A JOB????

message 22: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine quit.

message 23: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca u isa betta be a watchin uza back, Meez Karen.

message 24: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca Duh. Now I know which instructions.

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

you did not ruin my life! just, you know. that one book. which happens to be sometimes called the greatest novel ever. but i'm sure lots of books receive that title!

karen i promise i will not spoil the ending of romeo and juliet.

message 27: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg Witz is like a hundred times Jewier but it's also painful to read and absorb.

karen this was pretty jewy

message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg It is, this book made me wish I had been jewier than I actually am.

karen it made me want a pennygun

message 31: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg I keep meaning to make a pennygun, I just am just too lazy / forgetful to buy balloons.

Oriana Oh Karen yay. Awesome reactions, awesome review, and I love all your awesome little shout-outs. (Especially mine, obvs.)

karen we should talk about it - you and me and ariel and greg sometime where we can't spoil it for the others...

Oriana oh yes please! I would love that.

Krok Zero Don't feel bad -- I am an actual Jew and I don't get a lot of the Judaica in here.

I hope Adonai motivates me to finish this book soon...

karen but are you an israelite??

don't be an ex-shover!!

Krok Zero Did anyone figure out the derivation of "bancer"? I get that it's a coded derogatory swear instead of "fucker" or whatever, but where does it come from?

karen i don't believe it is ever explained.

message 39: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I only knowone thing that happens is anna Karenina is that it in all thousand pages?

karen she's really a maaaaaaaan

message 41: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Karen is amazing. Tell me the controversary with Twain? I've not heard?

message 43: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Sanitize this...... what BULLSHIT!!! over one historical word, folks. Huck Finn is a masterpiece,and a classic, that everyone should read. Get over the word. It's history, get past it,and see the book for what it is...... one of the most anti-racist stories around, if only the idiots would read it!

karen yeah, i know - i'm surprised you didn't know about this; aren't you twain-superfan??

message 45: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Yes, and what's funny is I heard about this in an email from someone else, just this morning. I've been sick,and busy with work,and not really watched the news lately. What a dumb idea. If they do that with this book, might as well do it with others too,eh? Is burning books, and Fahrenheit 451 next?

Yes, I am a Twain Superfan!

message 46: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary This Author, Adam Levin , was in St. Louis,and I fuckin missed him!!!!!!!! Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have loved to have seen him in person, got my book signed,and read it. I need to get a copy,and no, not on kindle. Levin talks about how some books are not the same on a Kindle, which so far, I don't own one, yet.


karen oh, i cannot imagine reading a book this long on an e-reader. what a nightmare!

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

yeah! how awful not to have to lug around a book the size of florida.

karen my name is ariel and i am sooooo fucking modern

message 50: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney I think the size makes you come back to it if you put it aside. I took a 2 month break from it and continued reading it. And also you would never lose it in your massive piles of books.

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