I believe Cullen has gotten to the bottom of the mystery why Eric and Dylan went on their rampage. As the headline in Salon said, "Everything you know about Columbine is wrong." Cullen explains that the boys weren't outcasts, Goths, etc. and their victims weren't jocks, bullies, etc. In fact, their goal was to rack up the biggest kill in one act and go down in history with a huge impact by blowing up the entire school and killing 600 or more with their bombs. But their bombs didn't work. The bombs and what they did with the bombs proves that victim "choice" was arbitrary. At the beginning, they meant to blow up the Commons and kill *everyone.* At the end, they again tried to blow up their bombs and kill *everyone* who was trying to hide.
Cullen makes the case that Eric Harris was a classic psychopath, and I kept thinking if he had lived, he might have killed more. He might have found a way to get hold of a weapon that would have worked the way he intended his bombs to work that day. Harris and Klebold were kind of a modern-day Leopold and Loeb, and they planned their rampage for a year and were very smart in hiding their planning from parents and authorities. This was not just an excuse to take blame off the parents or the school...you'd have to read the book and see Cullen's convincing case.
I read a long time ago in Colin Wilson's "A Criminal History of Mankind" that an infant would blow up the entire world if it had the power, such is its rage that it is not getting a bottle right that moment. Cullen's take on Eric brought this back to me.
This was the gist of the book. This wasn't really a review but kind of a summary. But I think Cullen makes a convincing case.
Delicious snark!!!!!! As good as the opening chapters of Gone Girl and almost exactly the same knowing voice--I even thought it was the same narrator. MUCH better than Chelsea Handler. Where has Julie Klausner been all my life?
The description of the Midwestern guy (early in the book) who is missing something in his emotional makeup (compared to people from other subcultures) was the first time I ever heard anyone "get it" as far as the difference in emotional tenor with Midwesterners. I'm originally from the South, so you'd think I'd have little in common with a Jewish woman form New York, but when it comes to emotional expressiveness and tenor I was right there with her when she described the Midwestern guy as "warm with a gust of cold."
The Miss Piggy and Kermit description was right on target, and so original.
This book is not just about dating adventures (like many other books are). This one is far beyond its book-alikes (Chelsea Handler) in that Klausner has very sharp, important, and deep insights. Oh, I can't do it justice. She figures things out that the rest of us have noticed but couldn't quite articulate.
Also, I think she was right on about the two types of women and what kind of fathers they had. This book is piled full of important insights like that.
I will wait on the edge of my seat for anything and everything else Klausner writes.
Klausner herself. Because she wears her heart on her sleeve and thinks that's an OK way to be (unlike the cold and reserved characters who guard their hearts) and she gets bruised and doesn't mind telling us all about it. But much more than that, because she has insight into what happened and can explain it to the rest of us bewildered daters.
I thought it was the same narrator from Gone GIrl, who also has just the right inflection and tone when reading the snarky parts. YUM! Just the right amount of knowingness and snark.
Admit it. You've dated him. Grab your friends and come laugh about it, 'cause they have too.
No one should read this in print. Everyone should listen to the audiobook.
Wicked, Seething, Delicious
Lots of people are talking about the gender wars, the plot twists, and "Who's the real villain" so I'll take the Missouri angle and the class warfare angle. I liked when each character told his and her secret, seething resentments...Nick about how Amy could never feel the full weight of the economic burden because she hadn't had to struggle to get to a comfortable place economically and socially, and Nick has had to. I liked the part where Nick had to keep on his toes to keep measuring up to Amy, and he resented it secretly. At the same time, Amy resented how she had to jump through hoops and wear a mask and be physically and socially perfect in order to win Nick (and thus win the singles game in New York by landing a good-looking, debonair man). Amy's take on competitiveness (that life wasn't worth anything without super-competitiveness) was interesting when compared to the "mediocre also-rans" back in Missouri. I think once back in Missouri, Nick wanted Amy to like the Missouri part of him, too, and she didn't, and he resented that. The writer is also from Missouri, so rather than taking the digs at Missouri at face value, I think the writer was examining whether it's really true that the people who leave Missouri and aspire to the Nick and Amy life are really better off all-round. I know a couple who ended up like Nick and Amy when the wife, who was hard to please and impress, stopped being impressed and started giving the bored eyeroll when the husband would point out things like Nature that he cared about...this was just like a scene between Nick and Amy when things were going bad. I kept thinking about my own relationship, back in Missouri, while listening to the book. Is it true that all mediocre Midwestern also-rans are just dumbly content because we don't want to do the constant work to be a little more edgy? Or do we go into relationships from the beginning accepting each other's shortcomings and being glad someone puts up with us/we balance each other out? Look at Marge Gunderson and her husband in Fargo. Marge accepts her husband's hobby and pudge and builds him up. Is it really better to be part of the more cutting-edge competitive set if they have to keep on their toes to that extent? Or do they mellow out and accept each other's imperfections indulgently too? Is there such a thing as a lovable slob in New York? From what I've heard, I think it's easier to be happy in a Marge Gunderson-type marriage far from the coasts. I think the writer was eminently familiar with Amy "types" among the writerly set and has possibly also decided that it's easier to find happiness with a little less of a perfectionist/competitive attitude. Now, for the economy. I loved the part where Nick starts lying around after becoming unemployed and taking out his resentment on Amy and she starts writing in her diary about resenting him for turning her into a nag. What is it Nick really resents, and is he thinking it through, or is he really just two years old? One might ask that question about a lot of men in real life (see my brother-in-law, or my ex, or my lodger, or Hannah Rosin's The End of Men) I think a lot of people think they want to be Amy, but they may not really be happy if they got to be Amy. According to Amy, the competition never ends, and the whole world is a game of who's more beautiful, accomplished, in control, intellligent, and perfect, at all times. I think Nick should have ditched her long before the events in the latter half of the book, done some growing up, and found an intelligent woman from his own background to be a real friend and partner to him and he her. Like other couples, some of whom have a little pudge, tell dumb jokes, and eat the occasional casserole, they could have done like thousands of other couples and smiled indulgently while the other re-told that same story for the thousandth time and sent them the wrong flower etc. I can personally attest that kind of life can be happy, and I don't say that with resentment that I'm not super-beautiful or upper middle class. I'm about 1000 steps more mediocre in every way than Marge Gunderson but I would love to be Marge. I want Marge to get Nick and Amy in the back of a police car and say "All for a little bit of cutting-edge sensibility and image. There's more to life than a little bit of cutting-edge sensibility and image. Doncha know that?"
No, but they were good.
Yes. It made me squeal every few seconds "This book is unbelievable!"
I would not recommend this book because my friends are mostly progressives from the working class (Yes, we exist.) At first, the blog and the entries in this book were skewering the upper middle class and its affectations. But then the subject matter changed to a conservative screed indistinguishable from Rush Limbaugh or Charles Murray. I'll leave David Brooks out of it because BOBOS stuck to the topic of Yuppies and didn't imply (that I can remember) that people who are concerned about the environment are insincere, etc.
Toward the end of the book, he hits on all the hot buttons the usual gaggle of liberal-haters always hit on. Why white people (he means liberals) like universal health care: so they can quit their jobs (it cannot be that any of them want to see the poor helped.) Why white people (he means liberals) find Christianity tacky (I am a United Methodist and member of Sojourners--which is to say a slightly left-of-center Christian.)
I would not mistrust this book as a conservative screed with an agenda if he hadn't started hitting on all the predictable hot buttons toward the end. I think this gives away his true agenda.
I dislike entitled upper middles as much as he does, but there are liberals from the working class who come by their concerns for the environment and the poor honestly. And who's to say all rich white liberals are insincere? Look at Jared Polis, wealthy philanthropist who has founded numerous schools for at-risk kids and given to countless other causes to help the less fortunate.
I love when Tom Wolfe gets going on a good rant at certain similar elements, but I get the feeling he isn't just swiping at every conservative hot button like a think tank employee. This book reads like it came straight out of a think tank. He wants to call all liberals insincere--I call this (admittedly witty) book insincere. I wouldn't if it didn't hit all the same hot buttons Charles Murray does, and all in a row, too (when he ran out of the easy topics that are clearly affectations to achieve status.)
Ending deteriorates into typical conservative cultural screed; beginning was great.
The narrator was great. Has just the right tone and inflection for the sarcastic parts.
It inspired me NOT to recommend it, even though the first part was good.
Conservatives, please get some new material. Sometimes you have some good points; I enjoy Tom Wolfe.
Post-9/11 Layoff Memoir
The character learns and grows a lot. She realizes her failings and grows up.
When someone said
Yes, if I could have.
The narrator is great. I thought it was the author narrating. The voice and inflection are just right. The job market is even worse now than it was when this was written.
No, because the narroator was awful.
For one thing, he was extremely wooden. Was he trying to sound like Douglas? Like BTK? Anyway, never mind that--at one point, he said
It made me fearful that there may be other killers out there like BTK. It also made me think about what makes a person like BTK tick. Even if he has a compulsion like this, does he think about it 24/7? What kind of miserable life must that be? I'd almost rather be a victim (I said almost) than live with the kind of compulsion that drove my life to such an extent. Did he have pleasure in anything else? Did his compulsions ever leave him enough to really enjoy his family life, or were his compulsions tormenting him 24/7? Also, I was both chilled to the bone and kind of relieved to find out that one of his victims said
Just because I razzed the narrator, don't skip this book. It's a worthwhile listen.
How did the narrator read this book without bursting out laughing? Don't get me wrong, this overripe potboiler is worth a listen, and it gives the listener some interesting things to think about--but just like the movie, the bodice-ripping passages are ridiculous. The reviews of the movie on Netflix are pretty funny too.
It's very interesting to me that this navel-gazing midlife-crisis protagonist is written by a woman. I think she captured what goes through a midlife-crisis man's mind and manages to describe it better than many men can. But there should be a drinking game or parlor game featuring this book, to see who can read the sex passages the longest without laughing.
This was a very interesting take on wife-killers. It makes you wonder what other people may be thinking under the surface...is someone you know planning to do away with his or her spouse and get away with it? The most interesting aspect was the pregnancy aspect. Some men can't handle the responsibility of fatherhood, and that's when they kill their pregnant wives. It is also interesting how many of the "eraser killers" tell extensive lies about their success and status, kind of living a fantasy life until (usually) a pregnancy presents looming responsibility they can't handle. I would suggest more help from society for young parents, including more jobs. A society where no one has to feel quite so overwhelmed by the impending birth of a first child. In the case of Christian Longo, he was being shunned by his extended Jehovah's Witness family and I think that contributed to his feeling backed in a corner. If there were a working class level job where a man could go down and at least make an adequate living, maybe fewer fathers-to-be would panic and pull a Mark Hacking.
Now for another topic. (It won't let me start a new paragraph.) This narrator's inflection is terrible. She doesn't pause in the appropriate manner at the end of a section. The end of an entire section is the same as the end of a sentence, and both are too short. It was very hard to tell when a new whole section begins. Other narrators sometimes do this too, and it seems like the narrator isn't grasping the material enough to tell when a new section begins. Very annoying.
This book was very interesting. I was very impressed after I finished listening to find out the author had stayed involved in helping people learn to keep their own police dept's working on their own families' cold cases. I even Google Street Viewed some of the scenes of the cases in the book...very sad and eerie to know these people lived and died and disappeared and were all but forgotten.
The cases outlined in the book are still with me! Restless sleep indeed!
I agree with some of the other reviews--the depth fell off in the latter part of the book. However, I learned some things I hadn't known before--especially the idea that infectious disease only began to plague humanity after agriculture and living in groups. The part about which genes have made the most difference was also informative. I liked the way he explained mutations, but I wish he'd write another book and explain it in even simpler terms for the many people who don't seem to understand evolution because they don't understand how mutations work. Case in point: Recently a politician asked why apes are not still evolving into humans. People laughed, then quietly admitted they didn't quite understand either. I really think people do not understand mutations and how they contribute to evolution...obviously I don't either, but this book does a pretty good job of explaining. This needs to be on TV on a really accessible visual chart or something, so people will quit asking questions like that politician did. I've seen Wells on TV; he could do it. Speaking of which, if he ever wants a second career, he could totally be the best narrator on here. He was so much easier to understand and had better timing and inflection than the narrator of the last book I listened to.
This book clears up some widespread misconceptions--for example, he makes the case that ODESSA never existed. However, they didn't need one large organization to help Nazis get away--there were several smaller operations that did the job. "Hunting Eichmann" hints at one of the "ratlines" but this book goes into much more detail about who was running the several "ratlines" and why so many Nazis ended up in the countries they did--including right back in Europe. An important part of the book concerns why the West was more interested in working with ex-Nazis to fight Communism than in seeking justice.
I absolutely love this narrator. Just the right pace, and his pronunciation and voice are wonderful. I wish they would use him more often instead of some of the Brits who are harder for me to understand for some reason.
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