MOTIVATION for READING: My reading pal Ruthiella loved it. I saw many other didn’t. I wondered where I would fall on that love/hate divide.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: It’s about Selin who is a freshman at Harvard in the mid 90s, trying to fit in. Or is it? About ‘fitting in’, I mean. She both wonders about it but never obsesses about it (like I did in college.) She’s trying to figure out what to major in, how to achieve what she thinks she wants to ‘do’ in life. She wonders about a lot of stuff. Love, travel, language, words. She has odd thoughts and thinks in a clever witty style.
The author says “part of it (this book) is about discovering email and being really awkward with it.”
Batuman’s bio on goodreads says that her writing has been described as “almost helplessly epigrammatical.” I have to admit, I had to look up epigrammatical to make sure I knew the word correctly and I must say I agree. (I also had to look up parvenu and sinecure; these are words that I have to look up every time I encounter because I have worn pathways in my brain requiring me to mistrust my own definition.)
WHAT’s GOOD: Oh the deadpan humor is fabulous. I would temper that though and say it is MY kind of humor and I know very well that it wouldn’t be many of my friends’ kind of humor. I laughed out loud a lot.
There is a satisfying pie scene. Winner so far of my 2018 Pie in Literature Award. It’s still early, though. Plenty of books to get through yet.
What’s NOT so good: The color of that cover. Yuck.
If you want to read the range of reactions, clicking on that ugly book cover above will take you to goodreads.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Read Roxane Gay’s review. She got it.
RATING: Four slices of pie.
“I thought about how wonderful it would be to be eating pie.”