Hanna's Reviews > Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings

Grapefruit by Yoko Ono
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did not like it

Instructions for obtaining, reading, and disposing of Grapefruit

Buy this book on amazon with two others for free s&h. Still think you spent too much money. Don’t care you spent too much money because you think this book will make you a better person.

See the word “whimsical” on the back cover. Laugh at the word whimsical. Laugh with a coworker about the word whimsical. Say, “Oh, Yoko Ono, you so whimsical!”

Make notes on every page. On some pages make pictures. In most of the notes, draw from your knowledge of physics, astronomy, psychology, sociology, and rationality to deconstruct the instructions. Logically prove them false, nonsensical, or even harmful. Feel bad about not being whimsical. Then feel good about being rational. Use no less than three different colored pens to do this.

Read out loud with a coworker at your place of business. Have giggle fits. Get stared at. Read to each other. Instruct each other. Don’t comply. Giggle more instead.

Talk about how Yoko broke up the Beatles and killed John Lennon. Feel cliché for doing so. But refuse to continue reading for that reason. Then continue reading anyways because it’s assigned. Do it begrudgingly. Feel bad about not being whimsical. Then remember you’re not insane.

Briefly think about how these instructions aren’t meant to be taken literally, how it’s an expression, a form of art. Think about the fact that each page probably means something. Don’t care to figure it out because you can’t translate crazy.

Feel bad for John Lennon. Wonder about how things might have been different. Decide you believe in fate and that things worked out for the best. Take that thought back and stop reading again. Then start again because maybe you’ll get it this time.

Rate this book on Goodreads. Be surprised, but not surprised to see it has an average rating of 4+ stars. Think about how people automatically believe when something is strange and/or they don’t understand it, that it is by default genius. Think about hipsters who pretend to like things they don’t actually like because it makes them look cool or smart. Don’t care about not being perceived as cool or smart because you absolutely abhor this book. Try to like it because you respect your professor and her reading list and she’s obviously assigning this for a reason. Stop trying because you hate it and you will always hate it. Think you’re just cranky and too serious. Then stop thinking because you’ve wasted enough time thinking about this already and you’ve got more important things to do.

Don’t do Yoko the pleasure of burning this book like she requests. Put it on a shelf instead. Let it collect dust (the ultimate violence to books). Pull it out when your friends are over and you are all drunk. Read to each other. Have more giggle fits. Let it collect more dust. Briefly fantasize that because it has your notes and drawings in it that it will one day be valuable because you will one day be a published writer--but published because of merit rather than reputation. Have pride in the fact you don’t want to ever be published by fact of your being an anti-celebrity or the spouse of a celebrity. Have pride in the fact that you only want to be published when your writing deserves it. Feel elitist. Feel snobby. Then feel bad for feeling elitist and snobby. Then stop caring and read something else.

Forget this book exists.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 29, 2012 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Keith (new)

Keith Hanna's got some teeth!!


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Fabulous review - had me laughing, but feeling like it was bad to laugh...


message 3: by NLK (new) - rated it 5 stars

NLK it's insane to say that Yoko broke up the Beatles or, even more, that she killed John(?), a rumor that sexist & racist fans spread to pin the blame on somebody instead of just accepting that people grow apart and change. This book was published in 1964 before she met John Lennon, when she was already a respected avant-garde artist in Japan, so saying that the book got published because she's the spouse of a celebrity is, once again, untrue, and a sexist cliche. You don't have to like the book, but these personal attacks are cruel, false, and unnecessary.


Eszter NLK I agree, I'm baffled that this is the top review of this book


message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Huddleston I don't think the text is irrational. . .it is just a collection of exercises to break habits of thought, similar to and most likely inspired by Zen koans (Cp Ono's mentor and later friend John Cage). If you don't want to engage in that project, fine. If you think there are better ways to break our mental ruts and expose our frames, also fine. I'd just note that the people who hit like on this are by and large the same who would dismiss the reviewer's work on face if they were exposed to it. The world probably has enough snarky dismissal.


message 6: by Cat (new)

Cat You’re so edgy


message 7: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Booth Love you’re review. I am so tired of people telling others why they’re wrong for a review they don’t agree with instead of having friendly exchanges of ideas over specific points. Your opinion is your opinion. That said, what is your feeling about it’s pure entertainment factor? If it made you giggle for it’s ridiculousness and it made you think and talk, why do you hate it? I am curious because I recently read a book where I got so worked up for what other people where doing to try and manipulate the character it was almost hard for me to read it! The book obviously had me engaged and particularly because it touched on some issues that are bothering me these days that I can’t make up my mind if I liked the book or not. Eventually the character speaks up for herself and has everything work out in a satisfactory way, but I was just getting so annoyed at the people manipulating her I was reading red (like seeing red, but when reading). Yeah I need to get a life, but I have to give the books kudos for engaging me if nothing else. It was an mixed feeling; part of me was a bit anxious for the character, but also realized that besides it covering button issues for me, it was good writing whether I enjoyed it completely or not. I think anything that makes us question things we think has value. I guess I see your point in the basic ridiculousness you found, and how that turned you off. I’d have a hard time liking a book by say, a Kardashian simply because I find them ridiculous even if they might manage to say something that wasn’t vapid and self centered. Anyway thanks for a funny wonderful review. I really enjoyed reading it.


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