Seven Jing Jing itibaren Texas
I originally bought this book in Manila a couple of years ago as part of an epic book shopping spree (on the flight home I needed to buy extra kilos for my box of books), knowing little about the author. But I'm glad I did. Franzen's life story is unremarkable in terms of actual events, but it his analysis and the almost deadpan way in which he retells these events that made the book compelling for me. More importantly, I loved this book because Franzen's discomforts, his awkwardness and neuroses, are all traits that could have been lifted from my own personality. At times, it felt like Franzen had somehow invaded my thoughts and published my own personal history. Franzen reads like an older, drier and more thoughtful cousin of David Sedaris (and that's no bad thing). And while the story is littered with amusing anecdotes (but more refined and less slapstick than Sedaris can often be) and self-analyses, there are truly moving parts as well. Franzen's treatment of the loss of his mother seemed more real and nuanced to me than Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking ever was. His understanding of the Catch-22 that is adolescence left me wondering why no one had ever put it so truthfully before: "Adolescence is best enjoyed without self-consciousness, but self-consciousness, unfortunately, is its leading symptom. Even when something important happens to you, even when your heart's getting crushed or exalted, even when you're absorbed in building the foundations of a personality, there comes these moments when you're aware that what's happening is not the real story. Unless you actually die, the real story is still ahead of you. This alone, this cruel mixture of consciousness and irrelevance, this built-in hollowness, is enough to account for how pissed off you are. You're miserable and ashamed if you don't believe your adolescent troubles matter, but you're stupid if you do." This book may not be for everyone, but for those who appreciate the subtleties and absurdity of growing up, and particularly if you have any neuroses or quirks of your own, there is a lot to be gained from The Discomfort Zone.