Book 7 Completed
I don’t think I would be friends with Jonathan Safran Foer.
Well, maybe. It’s hard to say. And it’s hard to pinpoint: Is it JSF who is the pretentious-smarmy-putz? Or is it the ridiculous amount of reviewers who drooled all over this “wunderkid” (according to Time). I did read in an interview that he only cared about three people reviewing his book — 2 gave him glowing reviews, 1 refused to read it. And so, even if JSF were my friend, he wouldn’t care what I have to say. Which fits perfectly with how I picture him.
This book is several things:
1. Gimmicky. gimmicky, gimmicky, gimmicky, gimmicky.
2. Too clever for its own good. Foer writes with a smirk. It’s almost like you can see him, sitting behind his laptop, his glasses fogging up as he types at a feverish pace. When he stops, he goes back and re-reads, and then smiles, pats himself on the back, and sits back with supreme smugness. How do I know this? Because of the self-congratulatory tone that permeates the text.
3. SEX overload! I’m not prudish when it comes to sex in books. But this book made me feel uncomfortable. I already shared one paragraph that gave me pause. But that type of explicit (and, ultimately, purposeless) sexual content makes it even clearer that this was written by a young twenty-something male. (We have the bedding of a 10 year-old boy by an old woman wearing a sanitary napkin. REALLY?!?!?! Really. This has zero place in any book…)
4. Magical realism mixed with an occasionally witty Ukrainian Malaprop. The two threads of stories are so jarringly different that it felt more like an experiment than a novel.
Look. It’s not worth trying to explain any more. By the time I reached the end, where the two stories converged and everything was supposed to be “illuminated”, I was done. Done with the language, done with the assault on my sensibilities, done with the character named after the novelist, done with trying to decide how I could convey to people how much I disliked this book. Done. Done. DONE.