Friday, July 2, 2010

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius... the title says it all.

I’m not a fan of non-fiction. Whether it’s about a particular event, place or person it always feels to me like reading a textbook. I didn’t read my textbooks when I had to… why should I read them for pleasure? The last two I tried reading I gave up on very quickly (Lost City of Z, When You Are Engulfed in Flames). I had heard good things about this one (Dave Eggers is one of the “stuff white people like”) and I got the book at a used book store for $5.70 (it was originally $6.50 but the guy wouldn’t bargain down to $5 even though it had coffee stains). I actually liked it.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers is a memoir of the author’s life. As it begins his mother is dying of cancer. It truly is heartbreaking learning all the gory details of her last days and her illness. While that is happening there are some flashbacks where you learn that recently his father died of cancer as well. So now an orphan, Dave inherits his little brother Toph who is eight years old. The two along with his sister move to California to start over. He creates this fledgling indie magazine and raises his brother in a bachelor lifestyle in the 90’s.

There are some funny parts like when they’re trying to go to an Open House at Toph’s school, and Toph isn’t dressed appropriately and they end up late which is a common occurrence for them. It is also sometimes confusing because he incorporate a lot of dream sequences and exaggerates scenes. He changes people’s names and even some things that they do or how they’re connected. Like there are two real people who he writes about that didn’t know each other at all but he uses one of them so that he knows about the other’s goings on. He did this to make vague who the real person is because the character is depressed and suicidal and the author seems to be the only one to talk him down. All of this is explained in the preface which I didn’t read until the end. There are some parts which drag on and seem a little disconnected to the story. For example, Dave auditions for The Real World San Francisco. I was really pumped for this part having been a Real World fan back in the day. But the interview seems to take forever and he is seriously trying way too hard to seem jaded and damaged so he can get on the show.

But in general the book was what the title said, heartbreaking and genius. Unlike most non-fiction and memoirs I’ve read it didn’t read like a textbook. It was entertaining and a pretty fast read (although I did lose the book and have to go to Borders two separate times to finish it so it took me a little longer). And it was not at all pretentious like David Sedaris. I cared about what happened to the people in this book and I didn’t feel like he was trying to shove down my throat that he leads an interesting life that I should care about. I recommend it if you haven’t already read this book which it seems like a lot of people have.

I also reread The Twilight Saga Eclipse in anticipation for the movie coming out. I’m not a diehard TwiHard (as the fans are called) but Eclipse was my favorite of the books and the movie looks fantastic. I hear it’s much better than the first two. I am totally Team Jacob. Edward is way to over-protective and he doesn’t seem to really trust Bella or respect her opinions. However rereading the book I began to feel that way a little less. I do however hate Bella even more. She gives in to him way to easily. Like even when she does decide what she wants (sex) he is easily able to talk her out of that and into what he wants (marriage) and their whole idea of that being a compromise is so messed up. I also became more frustrated with Jacob. His desperation is annoying. The whole argument between Edward and Jacob before the fight is ridiculous. Jacob says he will kill himself because Bella won’t choose him and then she makes out with him and says that she loves him too. No wonder he sticks around and hopes that she will change her mind. Bella is a tease! How can she tell him that she loves him but she’s choosing Edward. I want to puke all over her stupid face! I think I’m changing my allegiance… Team Seth!! He’s just precious and so funny!

Finally, I know this isn’t a book but it is literally related. The first official trailer came out for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! It looks FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! I so cannot wait. The trailer showed some major scenes. The escape from Privet Drive, the break-in to Gringotts and the Ministry, the destruction of the locket, a lot of the final fight scenes at Hogwarts, and so much more. It is masterfully shot, emotional, the acting is stellar, the special effects are beautiful, and it looks like they’re sticking to the books. Although the other movies left so much out I wonder how much they can include without it seeming to be pulled out of thin air. There is some controversy about the fact that Hermione’s hands which were once bloody are now clean and people thinking they’re cutting a lot of the violence out. But I can’t see how they can but then again you never know. I cannot wait to see it. Part one comes out in a little under five months. I included a link if you haven’t seen it check it out!