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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    166
  • 4 Stars
    169
  • 3 Stars
    123
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    43

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    211
  • 4 Stars
    120
  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
    29
  • 1 Stars
    26

Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    125
  • 4 Stars
    126
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    47
  • 1 Stars
    34
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ingrid
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 05-03-15

Made it to the end but it was painful.

I have too many people I cherish and respect who loved this book. Perhaps I missed something. I found it painfully insufferable. (Maybe it served me well though because now I know not to ever get that way with people.) some things were relatable, and truth be told I did like one small part in the book that made it worthwhile to me. It was the part during the Real World application interview where he talks about being seen. Alas, I listened to the preface at the end and the author, whose other books I have yet to read & will give another chance, does own the excessively self referential crazy making aspect of the book unapologetically. Perhaps reading it is different from listening to it. But if it weren't for the people in my life who recommended it so highly I wouldn't have even bothered to finish it. I hope I enjoy his others when I get around to reading them someday. I'm so biased, I finally looked up an image of the author who looks so cute... Is that another reason why I'll give him another chance? Yes, I know I shouldn't be so superficial. I am for giving thighs a second chance though. Being attractive doesn't hurt.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Alison
  • GRANADA HILLS, CA, United States
  • 04-15-13

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.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amber
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 05-20-10

Breathless, nonstop chatter

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.

6 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Claire
  • Pacifica, CA, United States
  • 02-15-11

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.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • John
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 05-15-12

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.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful