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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers


This is one of those books that I definitely wouldn’t have appreciated ten years ago, but have a wry sarcastic bent towards now. Reading the copyright page and preface is worth a few laughs, and though this was published back in 2000, elements of the hipster, the emerging adult, and general confusion about growing up are still relevant. The narrator, a young man in his early twenties, saddled with the care of his young brother after their parents’ deaths from cancer, relates his adventures in single parenthood, his attempts with friends to launch a magazine, and general confusion over becoming an adult. The narrator is self-deprecating and humorous, although at times the rambling can become tediously inclined towards whining and the angst of emerging adulthood. At times, his detours into rabbit holes are reminiscent of, and rival those of, David Foster Wallace.

Although I am glad I finally came around to reading this, I can’t say that I’ll return to it anytime soon. Though funny and poignant at times, after a while it is more like trudging through a jungle. I have heard good things about his more recent work though, and will eventually take a look at those.

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