Thursday, July 10, 2014

super sad true love story

Preston told me I need to write more book reviews on here, but I think the reason I haven't lately is because I haven't really read anything I loved or wanted to share with others, until last week. I finished Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart when were in California. I really enjoyed this book. Initially I saw it while browsing friends' books on Goodreads (if you don't have one get one. I will say it every time I talk about books on here) and I was intrigued by the title and the cover art. I love a book that makes me feel and this one did. The consensus on Goodreads was people either loved or hated this book. I can see it going either way, because I gathered that it was a satire on our generation and our obsession with social media and the need to know everything about everyone, good or bad, which resulted in outrageous dialogue between Eunice and her friends. Let me start from the beginning. 

This book takes place in the United States in the future...maybe 2050 or something. They probably say it in the book but I don't remember. Lenny Abramov is a middle aged man who becomes infatuated with Eunice Park, a young Korean girl he meets abroad. Eunice is pretty and smart, but shallow and worldly and to me represented us (me, you, your friends). The book follows their relationship in New York and is told from Lenny's perspective and Eunice's correspondence between her sister, mother and best friend. Everything is digital in this society and you're able to learn someone's stats immediately from where they went to school, how much money in their back account, and how they rated on physical attraction compared to everyone else in the room, from a little device called an äppärät, which to me represented iPhones/mobile devices in general. People are obsessed with their äppäräti and communicate solely through them. Riots start breaking out in New York City and around the world and what really matters becomes very evident. What I loved about this book is despite the crazy futuristic jargon and obscene trends of future USA, the raw human emotions of love, fear, vulnerability, sadness and loneliness remained and Shteyngart writes about this emotions in a very real way. 

This was a pretty easy breezy read and I can totally see people writing it off as fluff, but I found it a little unnerving how initially outlandish Shteyngart's future America was, but how so many trends and habits of Shteyngart's America so closely mirrored ours. I also enjoy books and television which pokes fun at our generation and this book made me giggle a few times. Overall, I thought it was a great read and an interesting satire on our media obsessed society and different perspective on the reality of human emotions and relationships.

Here's an excerpt:
"And when he was talking to me at dinner, usually I listen to everything a guy says and try to prepare a response or at least to act a certain way, but with him I just stopped listening after a while and looked at the way his lips moved, the foam on his lips and his dorky stubble, because he was so EARNEST in the way he needed to tell me things. And I thought, wow, you're kind of beautiful, Lenny. You're like what Prof Margaux in Assertiveness class used to call "a real human being.""

1 comment:

  1. I've read this! I probably fall into the "I love this" camp, although I found the narrative hard to follow at times (in A Clockwork Orange-made-up-language kind of way). I didn't read this as being social satire, but what you said makes sense. I probably would enjoyed it more if I had been conscious that Shytengart was intentionally trying to be over the top with Lenny and Eunice's relationship.