Apr 18, 2013

Super Super Angsty Hipster Stuff (sigh)

I tend not to seek out New York Times Notable Books or New York Times Bestsellers for my free time for-fun reads, but sometimes accidents happen and, well, a critically acclaimed book finds itself in my to-read pile.

Le sigh.

The most recent of these is Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story a cultural critique, pop culture satire that's effectively a work of science fiction for the realist fiction lover. 

Here's the blurb from the book website:

In a very near future—oh, let’s say next Tuesday—a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary, and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. 

And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century—he totally loves books (or “printed, bound media artifacts,” as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness.

After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work, teaching our “ancient dork” effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny’s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He’s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect’s “hotness” and “sustainability” with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being.
So it's critically acclaimed.
Whoot-whoot for it.
But does that mean I've got to love it? Does that mean that I won't eventually start to tire of the extremism of the satire? This novel definitely 'out-Herods Herod,' but it is, after all, a satire. 
Still. I get that society is trending towards sluttishness and superficiality and all that, but...onionskin jeans? Really now?
That's not to say that the novel doesn't have its moments - it is humorous at times, there are a lot of really psychologically insightful moments with the characters (perhaps too many, but maybe that's just me), the protagonists are well-developed (though I thought Joshie felt a bit flat as a character), and there's plenty to applaud in the novel, especially if you're a literary critic.
Here's the thing: I'm not. 
Hipsters and book clubs are sure to love Super Sad True Love Story, but leave me to my Meg Cabot (please and thank you). 
You can check out the book trailer to see if Super Sad True Love Story looks like something you'd like to read.


Or just to ogle James Franco...though that's definitely not his finest moment as far as hotness goes.

What are you reading right now?

What's your favorite and least favorite book genre?

Who is your favorite actor?


  1. Hello, I love hearing insights on novels- I'm also of the mind that I prefer elegant less in your face overt showcases of sex and drugs etc but we seem to be the majority in our age group! Xo maya


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