Knock yourself over
Review by Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in Garage Magazine, Premier issue, August-September 2008
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
By Dave EggersI know, I know. You may say I can’t possibly write a review for a book firstpublished eight years ago and is not even currently available in the biggestbookstores (though scrummaging through Booksale and eBay may bring its ownrewards), but still, leafing through the yellowed pages of my never-finishedcollege copy of this memoir, I find that the angst-ridden chapters may stillcommand relevance.How often have we sought to be different, to be something else, doing somethingelse, to be more than we are—in a word, to be extraordinary?The author recounts a scene at a local bar, “Everyone is talking. People havecome with friends and are talking with the friends they’ve come with. They’re outwith people from work. They are looking into the faces they see every day andare saying things they’ve said a hundred times…There’s too many of them, of us.Too many, too similar. What are they all doing here?”He talks about how boredom for the young is obscene, with so many things todo, so many possibilities. “How dare we be standing around, talking aboutnothing, not running in one huge mass of people, running at something,something huge, knocking it over?” Even if, many times, sex is the only thing onhis mind.The author, together with his band of friends, yearns for this release, thisrebellion from the mundane. Expressed randomly, seemingly careless, is therage to seize the day, to consume life: feed off love and despair, sorrow andpain, hope and lust—all these the marrow and tendons of life all twisted,mangled, and fluid.Eggers’ life is a mess, he having been twice orphaned in the span of a fewmonths, burdened but at the same time challenged with the care of his younger brother, continuously tormented and enlightened by snippets of memory: of home, their mother dying after long days spitting her insides liquefied and turnedgreen by stomach cancer, their father running towards their rooms to punishthem when they were kids and smoking in the hospital a day before passingaway with them already grown up, Dave sleeping with different girls, Davecrashing towards the events of his life.