A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Even before you start reading you canīt help noticing that here comes an author who is prepared to do absolutely everything to show and possibly endear himself to the reader: the title, the dramatic front and upside-down romantic back cover of the book, the copyright page telling you about the authorīs height, eye-colour and sexual preferences, and a kind of manual to help you read the book properly, an appendix with left-out dialogues etc.
The sad thing is, that all this bravado falls flat after the reader has been through the first, letīs say, 70 pages.
But, to do Eggers justice, the first 45 pages describing his parentsī death from cancer make the most gripping reading you can find.
He writes first about his fatherīs sudden death and then his motherīs three-months-fight during the final stages of her illness. Eggers is cruelly honest and direct here. He, obviously still at high school, and his elder sister Beth, occasionally assisted by an even older brother Bill, have to look after their mother and at the same time after their youngest brother Toph, aged eight.
After their motherīs death Dave moves to California with his brother. The rest of the 437 pages Eggers gabbles on mostly about his precious self, now and then about bringing up his little brother. The formative experience of his orphaned life comes when he and his brother see Bill Clinton. Wow!