This is one of those times when I judged a book by its cover and paid the price. I really like the look of The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks. I even like the premise – a PTA mom going back to get revenge on her high school bully. But ultimately, it fell flat for me. The plot, the writing, everything. That doesn’t mean I didn’t finish it – I did. It was a quick read and relatively brainless. Like a movie that you’d rent but never see in the theatre. Continue reading
Every once in a while I get a hankering for Toronto. Not the Toronto I actually lived in, which was Etobicoke, but the Toronto I dream about – Rosedale, old quaint houses, you know, the areas I can’t afford to live in. As it turns out Harry, the very WASP protagonist of Don Gillmor‘s new novel Mount Pleasant can’t afford to live there either. Continue reading
I can’t remember why I thought I wanted to read Why Are You So Sad? The title and concept make it sound a wee bit depressing, but it’s not. In fact, Jason Porter takes us on a rather fun filled journey into the the malaise that seems to pervade North American culture at times.
Raymond, our protagonist, is slipping. Not only is he falling into a depression, he is convinced that all of humanity is and it will lead to our extinction. To explore this theme further he comes up with the mad capped idea to write a survey and had it out to his fellow employees at an IKEA like furniture behemoth. Part of the fun of the novel is seeing how his co-workers react to and fill in the slightly odd survey.
My favorite part of Why Are You So Sad? is that Porter leaves us with two alternate endings. I was a firm fan of the first ending. Is that because I read it first? At any rate, it gave the book a Choose Your Own Adventure feel.
Who would like this book? This book is certainly not for everyone (mom, if you’ve read this far I mean you). Porter is a very contemporary American voice that has been compared to George Saunders and David Sedaris. I would also add Canadian Douglas Coupland to this list. The book is a quick read with some provocative ideas, but is unlikely to go down as a work of great literature. I enjoyed it and consumed it in almost one sitting. In a way it can be compared to Where’d You Go, Bernadette? but for a younger, pre-family generation. Both are funny and deal with mental health in contemporary American culture.
See what other bloggers have thought. And let me know if you’d like your review to be included here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.