Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart)

Title: Super Sad True Love Story
Author: Gary Shteyngart
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 332
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Challenges
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money
Summary (from the back of the book): In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of a Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of "printed, bound media artifacts" (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?


Review: This book is weird. Maybe quirky is a better word for it. I haven't decided if that's a totally bad thing or if it just wasn't for me. I first heard about this book on NPR when they interviewed the author and the book sounded clever and funny.

The setting is the near future and the author has taken a ton of recent events (terrorist attacks, mass protests, political upheaval, economic crisis, and more) and changed them up a bit to all collide in one small amount of time. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, social profiling are also taken to their extreme; people can stream live to the world (the ultimate ireporters), see one another's profiles which include financial, social, and physical traits. There's lots of revealing clothing (Total Surrender underwear, bras that show nipples, and more) that are mainstream. Nothing seems to be sacred anymore.

I guess that's the author's point. We are on 24/7 these days and with the Internet, nothing is sacred, nothing is private, nothing is just for us. It all seems to be shared (she says as she writes on a public blog!). I did like this aspect of the book: taking what we have today to the extreme and showing how crazy it all is... where will it end?!

But, the negative for me is that I didn't car a ton for Lenny, the main character. I found the conversations with Eunice and her friends a bit more interesting even if I didn't agree with her life choices. I am having a tough time with this review because I think the book is really clever in many ways, but I didn't care so much for the story.
    Geography Connection:

    (photo credit for right photo of the author)
    Click to see my updated Google Map. O.M.G. Another book set in New York City. Now I really feel the need to list the books set in New York that I've read this year.



    5 comments:

    Anne Bennett said...

    I like quirky books, but I think I'll be skipping this one.

    May Flowers said...

    I'm with you. I heard the review of this book on NPR so decided to check it out. I really wanted to like it, and I can recognize the point. It just didn't work for me.

    Helen's Book Blog said...

    Anne--Quirky is a difficult one as it sometimes works for me and sometimes not. In this case, not so much though I do keep thinking about the technology of the book

    May Flowers--Glad that I am not alone

    Aths said...

    I was really captivated by the cover of this one and would have given it a try on that basis alone. But the premise doesn't sound that interesting now. That kind of world is really too scary, but we are already in it. Twitter has become a kind of news source (remember Bin Laden's death?), revealing clothing has been around for a while (people still raises eyebrows at that now, so there is some sanity).

    Helen's Book Blog said...

    Aths--I love the cover too. I realize that the futuristicness (is that a word?) of the technology is frighteningly close!