Monday, September 17, 2007

Self-Indulgence with a capital S.

I started writing an entry about the Brooklyn Book Festival last night, but I was sooo exhausted that I couldn't finish it. I'll do that when I go home tonight - there's a couple pics I wanted to upload that aren't on my work comp (obviously).

I'm about a little more than halfway through AHWOFSG and I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe it's because of all the hype, but I'm a tad disappointed. I'll have to agree with Vivian and Moonrat that the first third of the book, where he's recounting his life with Toph right after the parents die and they move, that part's the best part. But soon after, he kind descends into this self-indulgent exploration of self that I'm not too into. Moonie and I were discussing about how the book probably could have benefited greatly from some heavyhanded editing. Some sections are way too long, and again, self-indulgent. It's not that I'm totally against the whole self-consciousness of the book (though the first time it happened, I was like, wha??), but I'm not really a fan of gimmick for the sake of gimmick. I like Eggers' runaway imagination that happens within the thread of the narrative, and I think that's okay. But to breakaway completely from within the story and take it out... hmm... I don't know. I mean, it's his memoir and he can do what he wants I suppose, but most compelling were the first few chapters. Now, while it's interesting to hear him psychoanalyze himself, it reads a little too much like someone's therapy session. I don't doubt that Eggers is a great writer - but I really do wonder about these choices, because I feel like if I had submitted a manuscript like this to someone now, they'd be like, uh? What? What are you doing?

Anyway, I'm still interested in the thread of the story of course, but really, the self-indulgence needs to go.

5 drops:

moonrat said...

this is why the world needs editors!!!

love us!!

vivian said...

Absolutely! Worship at our feet!!

Frank said...

No, don't worship them. They are part of the problem. "The first fifty pages..." argument is narrow and cliched. They are regurgitating the same popular critical stuff they heard elsewhere. There is so much to love about this book, Angelle. Maybe I've been privileged because I taught it to my freshmen three or four years ago, and I read it several times...Please don't jump on their rickety runaway train...

angelle said...

i was WAITING to hear from you, Frank, because I know you love your Eggers. :) Please do feel free to make your arguement on what you love about the book. Because while I'll admit there are many GOOD portions in the book, I'm really not that big a fan of the breaking out of character to talk psychoanalyze himself ever 40 pages or so.

Frank said...

I've been so wrapped up in my new job that I've been neglecting everything...These editors have me fired up, so I will write something...

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