If you were ever young, you probably don’t need a 660 page book (or, in my case, a 22 hour audiobook), to tell you that kids are cruel to each other. But Paul Murray does you one better here - the adults are cruel to each other, too. And the adults are failing the children left and right, and not looking back.
Skippy dies. He dies in the first few pages of the book, and then the following 600 pages unravel a mystery of sorts - trying to help you understand how Skippy dies; why Skippy dies. The first 3/4 of the audiobook, although well-performed by a full cast, was difficult to get through. Sure, Mario is a welcome comic relief and Dennis is a perfect cynic, but then there’s Carl who, quite honestly, terrified me. I already survived adolescence once (unlike Skippy), and I wasn’t sure I wanted to relive the whole thing again with this cast of bullies and villains.
But then, as I realized that the events of this story are not merely tragic, but something much, much worse, this story picked up momentum. It’s cliche to use the phrase “runaway train” but truly, this book concludes like a runaway circus train. On fire. Pulling in to a city made of straw.
Rest in peace Skippy, and do not trouble yourself with the thought that your death, like your short life, was in vain.
I am trying to read this article about why Millennial Women are burning out at work before age 30, but I’ve got emails coming in, IMs pinging, two deadlines looming and eight minutes before my next meeting. I’ve got six browser tabs open, including websites to track the calories I’m eating, figure out what I’m going to prepare for a get-together at my house this weekend, keep an eye on the news and pay my bills. I’d write something more insightful, but [ring ring] ACK!
“The Hidden World of Girls, two new hour-long Specials hosted by Emmy Award-winning writer and actress, Tina Fey. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities—of women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.”
In the year 2044, Columbus, Ohio is the technological capital of the country, most of the population lives in ghettos of double-wide trailers stacked one on top of the next and, most improbably, SNL is still on the air.
In his debut novel, Ernest Cline has managed to [re]create two impressively rich worlds - that of America in 2044, where debtors are deloused and shipped off for a life of indentured corporate servitude, and the America of the 1980s, in all of her 8-bit, gull-winged glory.
Although this book reads like YA lit, I’m giving it +1 star for heart. It’s not often that I’ll read 200 pages in one sitting. You’re rooting for Wade Watts, but you’re also rooting for Ernest Cline, who brings geekitutde to a rocking new level. I am not worthy, Sir. My only criticism: really? Not a single reference to The Never Ending Story?