A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Book - 2001
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A memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2001
Edition: First Vintage Books edition
ISBN: 9780375725784
0375725784
Branch Call Number: 973.92092 Eg33H 2001
Characteristics: xlv, 437 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

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AL_BETHW Aug 06, 2017

It's interesting when a book makes you laugh, breaks your heart, but also invokes the classic face-palm because, at points, you are so exasperated with the author. A young Eggers loses both his parents in the span of a month. Dang... Barely an adult himself, he ends up raising his 8 year old brother, Toph. Eggers takes you through his story like you are part of his cast, a life long old pal. In a bizarre way this makes so much sense. I worked with Eggers years ago on his Denver stop for the What Is the What tour, he invited everyone there out for a beer afterwards. Everyone. He instantly makes you his friend. In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, you are his friend, his classmate, his co-worker, through every struggle, neurotic thought, and narcissistic behavior. Does this make him a genius? Yeah, ok, it probably does... but please don't tell him that :).

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elizali
Jul 18, 2017

Extremely well written. Eggers writes from an honest place, that isn't always 100% likeable, and that honesty grants a refreshing air to this memoir-fiction combo. I found the structure of the book to be more readable than a traditional memoir, and while it is told out with a different emphasis than straight factuality, that doesn't diminish its message or its truth at all. Laugh out loud funny in the quirkiest way possible.

u
uncommonreader
Mar 21, 2016

A self-indulgent, post-modern and self-conscious story about twenty-somethings mostly on the west coast which would have been better if shorter and edited. Nevertheless, Eggers talent (although not genius) comes through.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

Yes, even the verso and the preface are inspired in this wonderful memoir by Eggers. His humourous and ironic touch lightens the heartbreaking tragedy that befalls his family but leaves us hopeful for their survival. The deep love that Dave has for his younger brother, Toph, is truly inspirational. It underlines the enduring faith in family that may get knocked around but staggers through to salvation.

multcolib_central Jul 11, 2014

How would you cope if you were a young indulgent hipster riddled with nervousness who's forced to witness the slow deaths of both your parents from cancer within weeks of each other and so become the DE facto caregiver to your 8 yr. old brother? Would you write a book in an original, funny and poignant voice about the experience?

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ericjoyce03
May 03, 2014

Great book by a local author. Amazing story, recommend it to anyone.

2
23305010727556
Dec 11, 2013

I had to read this book for school. While the review that the teacher gave us was all positive, when I started reading it, I was ... underwhelmed, to say the least. The first chapter, nothing happens. The author, at the beginning of the novel, even suggested that some might want to skip to the middle, which is what I did. Then, things began (only a little) to get more interesting, so that was fun, but it still was definitely not a book that is one of those you can't put down. Maybe I'm not analytical enough, but it seems like it's a very simple memoir of the author's childhood, and that is it. Sure, there's lots of humor in it, but not enough to make me want to read it. Flat and simple and plain. As a metaphor, To Kill A Mockingbird is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, while this is half a piece of bread, plain and simple. I rated it 3 stars because while I didn't like it, I did finish it, so it can't be that bad.

jaelle Mar 27, 2013

I read the reviews and found that this book is proably too esoteric for me.

b
browncnd99
Aug 24, 2012

I love Dave Eggers work but I did not enjoy this collection of short stories at all! That being said, short stories aren't my favorite format. I pushed through to the end hoping I'd 'get it' but I didn't :)

o
ownedbydoxies
Nov 20, 2011

I've read this book several times - I love it, and I don't say that lightly! This book is so different, so unique and thoughtful and outright hilarious, it's impossible to categorize. It might be too much for some readers - but don't let that stop you from giving it a try. I even went out and bought it after the first reading. It's my go-to book for when I need something to read and don't have anything worthwhile on the go at the time.

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bumpyminion Aug 23, 2013

I pick her up. We walk down to Nickie’s. It’s small, full of bodies, sweltering.

bumpyminion Aug 23, 2013

Things

bumpyminion May 30, 2013

“To have lost one parent, Mr. Worthing, might be considered a misfortune. To have lost both smacks of carelessness”

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