You can't write a book like this without JD Salinger. You also can't get the genius of George Saunders without this work. So as a bridge connecting Tenth of December to The Catcher in the Rye, I am very grateful for its existence. As for its own merit, it was honest and rambly and self-pitying and desperate and depressing and irritating -- with what ended up to be very little heart. Or at least it didn't translate into heart for me. Being disgruntled with life and the lemon-throwing machine it can be only transcends it if the characters can overcome and grow from how they handle the challenges.
This book was tough to listen to. While I can appreciate the "staggering genius" it took to write it, I also found the subject matter depressing and the constant tangents and stream-of-consciousness tiring, especially in audiobook format. The narrator does a great (if sometimes overly enthusiastic) job of reading, but the constant jumping from one idea or moment to the next made me often lose focus and have to rewind. That being said, it was an interesting read, and had some beautiful, touching moments.
I would definitely try another book by Dave Eggers; just not an audiobook if narrated again by Dion Graham.
Dave Egger's writing style is unique and inspired-- he shifts gears, sometimes even mid-sentence, yet keeps your attention.
I've read some of his other stuff and started reading the first couple chapters of this book years ago before getting sidetracked, I was excited to hear the audiobook version. After this awful narration, I'm going to pull the book off the shelf and actually read it...
His over the top, out of breath style drove me batty. I had to turn it off for a while a few times, because the constant gasping etc. was such a distraction. He ruined it for me.
The only anger I felt was with the narrator. It was a very sad story, but with the energy and ambition of youth woven into it, there was a lot going on there -- the story could go anywhere.
I'm getting hooked on Audible audiobooks, but this awful performance by Dion Graham, reminded me that sometimes books should just be read.
I believe this book needs to be read instead of heard, at least if Dion Graham is the reader. Ugh. It was awful. I found myself so distracted by his over dramatizing of the emotions that I couldn't enjoy the book at all. Sad, because I like Dave Eggers.
I have to disagree with everyone who slagged off the reader - i thought he did a great job. Unfortunately I wasn't very interested in the book itself, no matter who was reading it. Funnily enough, I loved the preface (which is at the end...) but the rest of it I could take or leave. Not awful but not great either.
I read reviews complaining about the narrator, and I ignored them. I made a huge mistake. This is a wonderful book, but its ruined by the audio version. The narrator reads it like a hyper dramatic prose in a speech tournament, and I'm overwhelmingly confident fails to capture the essence of the writing. With every hour I listened, it grated on me more. Seriously, if I could get my money back I would do it. I am patient with audio readings, but this guy was TERRIBLE. If you are interested in Eggers, just read his work.
This may indeed be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, but I couldn't stand the hyped-up, out-of-breath way the narrator read every word. I had to stop listening. I imagine I would have liked it better in print. As the other reviewer mentioned, though, it is rather depressing.
The writing was creative at times, overblown others. I could appreciate it as a work of art more than a story, playing with the traditional rules of literature. The narrator, though, was *awful;* he ruined the book for me. It took me awhile to realize that the book itself wasn't necessarily written at a feverish cadence, but the way the narrator read the words--like a manic meth head having a psychotic break--made me anxious just to listen to it. Several times I found myself repeating back sentences in a different tone and finding the book much more enjoyable. I would read the hard copy book itself for a book club or something so I could discuss it with friends, but spend your credits on a better listen.
I didn't get much out of this book. Some of the parts were funny, I can relate to the character on many levels: its amazing how the brain can spiral into crazy thoughts. I enjoyed some of the humor, but just didn't enjoy it enough. I'm going to find the person who recommended this to me and...
Teenagers, maybe young adults.
Stayed focused. Made Christophers' experience more believable.
I feel badly that this is a true story, heartbreaking is right. But I just don't believe the interplay between brothers.