The one thing I regret is that I will never have time to read all the books I want to read.
--Francoise Sagan

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

I was on spring break all week, and I had big reading plans...But then I got sort of bogged down in this one...Eggers himself warned me I might...

In the "Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book" he writes, "#4...many of you might want to skip much of the middle, namely pages 239-351, which concern the lives of people in their early twenties, and those lives are very difficult to make interesting, even when they seemed interesting to those living them at the time." And "#5 Matter of fact, the first three or four chapters are all some of you might want to bother with. That gets you to page 123 or so, which is a nice length, a nice novella sort of length..."

It was really tedious at times. But it was clever and hilarious and poignant and fascinating at times, too.

Eggers' parents both died of cancer within just weeks of each other when he was in his early twenties. His younger brother, Topher, was only 7. As if losing both your parents so young isn't enough to deal with, Eggers also became a single parent to Toph instantly, over-night.

A.H.B.W.O.S.G. is the story of the first several years after their parents' death. The brothers picked up and moved from Chicago to San Fransico. Toph started a new school...played Little League Baseball. Eggers worked as a temp, auditioned for the REAL WORLD (which I remember watching),and eventually launched Might, an alternative magazine. They played a lot of Frisbee and hung out at the beach. Eggers went to Open Houses and Parent/Teacher conferences...always having to explain who he was and why he was there. They improvised...made it all up as they went along...and Eggers tells the story with a real sense of introspection and humor that I appreciated.

Ultimately, though, this was a heavy read...and I'm ready to move on...hoping to find another page-turner soon.

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