The Book of Other People edt. by Zadie Smith

I was really really disappointed with this book. It was like that 2008 movie Jumper–amazing concept, terrible execution. Zadie Smith gathered a couple dozen well-known writers to do short stories/character sketches but they really fell short of the mark. I mean, I know that they weren’t supposed to be stories that focused on the plot–character development was the whole point–but even as such they were boring and pretentious. 126

I only found a few stories that were worth my time:

  • The Liar by Aleksander Hemon-a brief retelling of Jesus’ crucifixion. 
  • The Monster by Toby Litt-about a creature who can’t see himself and all he knows of his appearance is based on touch.
  • Soleil by Vendela Vida-one of the better-developed sketches that actually made me interested in learning more about the wild-child “aunt” Soleil.
  • Theo by Dave Eggers-a lonely and jilted giant seeks solace in the beautiful mountains.

The rest you could totally skip and save yourself the yawning. I just felt like so many of the stories were written to sound extremely pompous and egotistical. I don’t like associating with snobby socialites, so I’m not interested in reading about them either. I don’t care about your Upper-East-Side-bagels-and-lox-can’t-find-a-good-nanny-problems. I want to read about someone real. Real problems and real courage.

It reminded me too much of A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff, which I hated.

Maybe I’m shallow. Maybe I haven’t started crying into my gin and tonic at 10am and I just don’t understand. Who knows?

All I know is that I won’t be reading this ever again.

2 vagina-faced monsters of 5

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About Chelsea McDonald

As an avid reader since I was big enough to hold a book, I continue to enjoy losing myself in the thrall of a good story on a daily basis. Since many of my cohorts do not share the same passion, Cracking Spines will be the perfect outlet to express my adulation or frustration concerning the books that cross my path. In this way, my loyal followers will be able to enjoy the stories that are worthwhile and avoid the duds altogether. I also have a Shelfari account at http://www.shelfari.com/chelseamcdonald15 View all posts by Chelsea McDonald

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