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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Audiobook

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Dave Eggers scored a worldwide phenomenon with this memoir that topped national best-seller lists and has since become a staple for summer reading and book clubs. A compelling voice for Generation X, Eggers hererecounts his early 20s, caring for his younger brother after their parents’ unexpected deaths and his endeavors in a variety of media.
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Publisher's Summary

Dave Eggers scored a worldwide phenomenon with this memoir that topped national best-seller lists and has since become a staple for summer reading and book clubs. A compelling voice for Generation X, Eggers hererecounts his early 20s, caring for his younger brother after their parents’ unexpected deaths and his endeavors in a variety of media.

©2000 David K. Eggers (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

“Not just for the MTV-fan age group, this is a very entertaining, well-written book.” (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (389 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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Overall
3.5 (283 )
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (278 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alison GRANADA HILLS, CA, United States 04-15-13
    Alison GRANADA HILLS, CA, United States 04-15-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enough Already."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Teenagers, maybe young adults.


    What could Dave Eggers have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Stayed focused. Made Christophers' experience more believable.


    Any additional comments?

    I feel badly that this is a true story, heartbreaking is right. But I just don't believe the interplay between brothers.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter WOODSTOCK, NY, United States 05-17-11
    Peter WOODSTOCK, NY, United States 05-17-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Logorrhea"

    Most of the reviewers who focus on the reader's skillful, or annoying, dramatized delivery; or on the supposedly depressing nature of the author's parents' untimely illness and death, seem to be missing the point. I think the reader actually did a fairly serviceable job of rendering a text that suffers from interminable logorrhea (compulsive verbalizing), as if the author assumes we should all be fascinated by endless minutiae of often minor value or significance. It's presumably a comic memoir, but I laughed out loud exactly once (at the reference to "Toph's Law"). The most promising set-piece, an extended audition interview for MTV's "Real Life" show, turns out to be a cleverly invented stratagem for conflating stories about the family's life in Lake Forest. But so many of the stories elsewhere wander off into irrelevance or sheer desperation. You have to admire Eggers's stamina in unspooling the endless details and contortions, and the occasional actually heartbreaking moments; but you end up wishing this were a print book and you could scan ahead to get to something of real interest. I love his extreme self-deprecating (one is tempted to say self-defecating) humor, and the occasional glistening gem of a description. But in the end I felt like I got to know very little about Toph himself. And I kept feeling like a passenger on a long train ride, trapped next to someone whom you soon realize is just speed-rapping you.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Eaton 04-22-12
    Lisa Eaton 04-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Wish I had just read it."
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janeite 06-02-10
    Janeite 06-02-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't stand the narrator"

    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.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curtis Steinhorst 09-27-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Narrator ruins it"

    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.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John San Francisco, CA, United States 05-15-12
    John San Francisco, CA, United States 05-15-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Inspired Writing Ruined By Exasperating Narrator"
    Would you try another book from Dave Eggers and/or Dion Graham?

    I would definitely try another book by Dave Eggers; just not an audiobook if narrated again by Dion Graham.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Dave Eggers? Why or why not?

    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...


    What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

    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.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm getting hooked on Audible audiobooks, but this awful performance by Dion Graham, reminded me that sometimes books should just be read.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachelly 12-10-15
    Rachelly 12-10-15 Member Since 2013
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    "WORST NARRATOR EVER"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I can't say who would enjoy this... The narrator's delivery is so distracting


    What was most disappointing about Dave Eggers’s story?

    The lack of an interesting, fast paced story.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narrator over emotes, he speaks too fast and is much too animated.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Rinne 06-26-15
    Julia Rinne 06-26-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Heard Good Things Not Impressed"
    Would you try another book from Dave Eggers and/or Dion Graham?

    Not from Dave Eggers, perhaps from Dion Graham. I get that Dave Eggers was being vulnerable by sharing his deep fears and grandiose hopeful imaginings I just found the long lists of fears or hopes or arrogant views very tiring and unengaging. Perhaps this is a book for the 20 somethings and not me almost 40 years their senior.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Dave Eggers again?

    I am aware of some of the ways that Dave Eggers has used his fame and money to assist others and applaud that. in fact I have gratitude for he and others who are doing everything they can to make a positive difference for people in this world I still won't purchase, read or listen to anything else by Dave Eggers.


    Have you listened to any of Dion Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius?

    The whole long drawn out interview for the reality TV show.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carla 03-20-15
    carla 03-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Unentertaining and offensive"
    What disappointed you about A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius?

    Very offensive.


    What could Dave Eggers have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It is very cleverly written, and enjoyed the intelligence of the author. But I found the swearing and blasphemy very offensive.


    Which character – as performed by Dion Graham – was your favorite?

    Dion Graham is a great artist, Will definitely look out for books read by him.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Dissapointment


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Pacifica, CA, United States 02-15-11
    Claire Pacifica, CA, United States 02-15-11 Member Since 2010

    Picky reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Okay story, frustrating narrator"

    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.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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