Dave Eggers,
A Heartbreaking Work
of Staggering Genius

(Simon & Schuster, 2000;
Vintage, 2001)

Overall, this book by Dave Eggers is a gem, filled with absolutely hilarious and raw moments. Sometimes, though, Eggers goes into lengthy, bordering on boring, diatribes about certain subjects, and I wonder why those weren't edited down just a bit. This was something that everyone in my book club commented on -- there are some pages that you have to skim through to survive a reading of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

The MTV interview for reality TV could stand on its own as an essay. If you only read one chapter of this book, pick up that one (Chapter VI).

The book is told from a raw perspective -- Eggers has recently gone through some very traumatic life events. I think his perspective is one of a kind -- had he waited a few years to write this book, it would have been very different.

He includes self-criticism in his book, including verbatim messages from friends who think he is whiny and self-absorbed. This helped me when I thought he was being whiny and self-absorbed, myself.

by Jessica Lux-Baumann
1 July 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.