Eggers check-in; pg. 176; because I can

5 Sep

I’m almost half way through the book I mentioned picking up in my last post – A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers. Surprisingly, I don’t hate it. I thought I would hate it, my best friend hated it. She thought Eggers was elitist, racist; thought the book had no point. She wasn’t interested in the characters and found his ramblings (staggering) annoying, contrived and white.

Eggers, in his “memior,” is completely a middle-class white dude from a mid-Western, upper middle-class town. Of course he’s racist and elitist and self absorbed (aren’t we all), it just becomes hard to swallow when he doesn’t really apologize for it – or (doesn’t seeem to) have any idea that his thoughts and words could be what they are (racist, elitist, self-absorbed, asshole-ic). He has created his character to be pretty blasse about tradgedy and responsibility – which, yeah, is annoying. There is no inward struggle about self and who he is. As a twenty-something (a label Eggers appears to relate to a lot in his book) – I find this not to be the case. Everyone I am surrounded by, who is in their early to mid twenties has no idea who they are or what they are doing. They (we) question everything about ourselves and wonder who we will be, how we will get there and dream about who we will mow down on the way to the top.

On the other hand – I am interested in the character that Eggers has created (recreated?). I find him interesting – almost like a foriegner, or more like a foriegn country. I wonder about him in my off time and I wonder if men really are that different from women. How is it so possible to emmotionally detached from the world, your family, your friends? I cannot seem to separate my emmotions from anything and I find people who do kind of hard to get to know and get along with.

One of the most attractive parts of this book, for me, is again, place. The book, like Lisick’s, is centered in the Bay Area – San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley being the center of that. So I love to know where he is, think about when I was there, think that maybe only I would understand what he means when describing the Bay Bridge. It’s also cool to be able to know a recent history of neighborhoods – South Park in the 90s, Berkeley a decade ago. Has it changed? Why? How?

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