When I saw Bad Teeth by Dustin Long I thought, this is the book for me. It ticks all of my boxes: academic satire- check, Tibet writer who may be a plagiarist – interest peaked, add in a touch of a love story – oh yeah. And did I mention that it has footnotes? I love me a footnote!
And yet. For all Bad Teeth seemed to have going for it, I did not really enjoy it all that much. I felt like I had to force myself to read it. The characters seem to be the root of the problem for me. They were all rather self-involved. Not self-involved enough to make me laugh, just enough to turn me off. Or maybe I’m just too self involved to see past this. It was very much the type of novel about white guys in Brooklyn sitting and having thoughts, to paraphrase the geniuses behind Book Riot.
As much as I hate to gender novels (labelling something as women’s lit actually makes me cringe), I kind of think Bad Teeth is a guy’s novel. There are other male writers like Michael Chabon and Nick Hornby who are often considered guys’ writers, but unlike Long, I like their stuff. In particular, there was something about Long’s view towards women that i did not like.
Who would like this book? In spite of my hesitations surrounding Bad Teeth, I do think it is going to be a rather talked about book this spring. The publishers draw comparisons to Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace. The first I don’t particularly enjoy, the second I haven’t read, but that does give Long a fair bit of pedigree. Long also appears to have an association with McSweeney’s, which is generally quite a high recommendation.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Hmmm. I too like these elements in a novel and I adore David Foster Wallace, buuuut…. I’m a feminist so crappy attitudes towards women (without some literary reason behind it) can be a huge turnoff.
(I also loathe terms like ‘chick-lit’ 🙂 )
I don’t want to turn you off of it too much because i think it is going to be a much talked about book this spring. Read other reviews before you make your decision.
I think I know exactly what you’re getting at with some of your irks around this book, I’ve felt that way with some I’ve read. Such a shame because it has a great cover!
Ugh, sorry this wasn’t the book for you – nice to see you can be honest about that.
Not every book is for everybody and that’s ok. I just hope it finds its audience out there.
I also thought this book might tick a few boxes for me – I love me some academic satire – but I read the first few pages in a store and wasn’t sure if it would really be everything I wanted it to be.I think I’ll still give it a go, but perhaps not in hard cover.
Interesting what you were saying about a gender perspective in a book, how some of them can feel inclusive and others don’t. Might have inspired a blog post in me 🙂
I feel like I’m having to do the ole “force myself to read it” a lot lately. Bummer.
I’m going thru a whole lot of that right now.
I just finished a book that checked all of my boxes and ended up being disappointing. Not good! I hope you’re able to find something you can’t put down to read soon 🙂
I’m reading a so-so book right now but after reading something that didn’t agree with me it is refreshingly good.
I hate it when this happens. Given your description of the book, I doubt I’ll be picking it up any time soon.
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I was really curious about this book, so I’m sad to hear it didn’t measure up! Thanks for the honest review.