Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What are you reading, JC Lugo?

I recently finished reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Even though this was initially an assigned book for one of my classes, it was a fascinating read. I could not put it down and wanted to keep reading it because of the style it was written in. Through different styles of writing and different portrayals of emotion, he was able to take me on the emotional journey that he underwent. It was in insidious read that crept up on me.

Something I really enjoyed about the book was the unconventional way of writing Eggers chose. Because the events he went through were so traumatic, it only made sense that capturing those experiences would be in a dramatic, uncommon way. During his adolescent years, both his father and mother died of lung cancer and stomach cancer, respectively, only months apart. This left him, along with his sister Beth and brother Bill, to look after their youngest sibling, Toph, who was 13 years younger than Dave. After leaving Illinois due to the death of their parents and settling in San Francisco, Dave tries to create a sense of normalcy for Toph by trying to be a father figure, but also wanting to be his older brother. In a sense, Dave feels robbed of his childhood and that is evident by his erratic behavior and impulsive behavior.

With an extended preface and acknowledgment section, I was already able to tell that this memoir would be unlike any other that I had read before. His use of language was what captivated, but his message is what kept me reading. Eggers was able to give us a glimpse of the mourning he had to go through. He continually talked about the longing for a community that understood him, but he was not able to find that community until he went through the process of mourning.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is willing to feel exposed and feel vulnerable. Even though Eggers is the one who is spilling out his life, I also felt exposed and felt as if we both took a piece from each other. It truly is a heartbreaking work from a staggering genius.

JC Lugo is majoring in English Literature here at Hope. He is part of the Men's Basketball team and he is also part of Student Activities. He is a senior and will be graduating in May.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, Simon and Schuster, 2000.

This book is available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To see some of Eggers' other works, check out McSweeney's.

You may also find this book at your local library by searching

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