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Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel January 6, 2011

Posted by therealtinlizzy in Uncategorized.

The subtitle of my friend Stef’s blog is “The agony and ecstasy of a reading life.” I always assume the crux of agony in relation to reading for her is the agony of there being so much to read and never enough time to read it all. I’m not sure if she ever ascribes agony to any of her actual reading choices – will have to ask her that. Knowing her and her reading habits – I always figure she has the sense and good pre-judgment to mostly avoid reads that would actually incite agony within her.

I, however, clearly have no such good sense of reading-agony avoidance. See also my foray into Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth (really – it was just for the architectural content!!) and Janet Kay’s Waters of the Dancing Sky (my mom totally made me) last year.  Presently I’m in reading agony, but this time it’s exactly and precisely everyone else’s fault. I finally gave into the pressure to read Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Scheyngart, despite being initially left cold by the summaries and overviews. Yet websites and bloggers (looking at you io9!) and critics and everyone short of my mom have been hailing this book as fantastic and one of the best spec-fic (if not just plain ol’ fic) reads of 2010.  In fact New York Times Review of Books includes it in their list of 100 Notable Books of 2010 (“exhilarating prose illuminates the horrors of a future America in this satire”).

But sadly and irkedly I’ve made it 44% (damn you Kindle for your percentage instead of page #s) through Super Sad True Love Story and I feel like I’m watching the most yawn-inducing, non-dramatic, non-emo emo-drama. It’s like being stuck in a waiting room for days with a couple of teenagers half-heartedly picking on each other in really boring, tiresome, uninteresting ways while at the same time half-heartedly playing their respective Nintendo DS’es.  I mean if one of them suddenly threw a punch at the other (or me for that matter), or drew a gun and took us all hostage, or committed sepuku with her DS – that would gratefully at least relieve the tedium of it all.

Given the NYT RoB quip from above – I feel like they were reading an entirely different book than I am. “Exhilarating”? “Horrors”? I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean, NYT RoB. And in terms of evoking emotion period – I would be happy just to feel somewhat disgusted – that would at least be a stronger emotive response than “pleh”.

But – I’m going to push on to the bitter end – because that is what I do with books I’ve gotten 40% of the way through – I read to the bitter end. Occasionally such books actually turn out to redeem themselves by the end, or hell if not I can at least add them to my total tally of books for the year, as well as having one more to trot out for my Worst Reads of the Year.

If my 40%-read assessment of SSTLS turns out change drastically by 100% – I will return to make amends and happily eat my sassypants words.


1. para selenic - January 7, 2011

oh oh oh agree with you 100% on this one. even the
twisty/exciting part is anticlimaxed. this book is pleh, meh, bleh.
one thing fer me, tho: there are lots of bits after the story
(similar to the appendices to anathem, though not as necessary or
cool) that I didn’t realize existed until the end of the book–
which is one thing I realized is not so good with kindle– without
the physical booky to realize the end parts– i didn’t read them
til after the fact. I don’t think it would have changed a damn
thing about my perception of the book, but I do think that had i
had the physical book, I would have at least scanned those bits

para selenic - January 7, 2011

oh shite. I was thinking about how to live in a science
fictional universe…. which i was super meh about. the super sad
true love story is pretty meh, tho too– and the way things move is
in a totally predictable, oh yeah i saw that from about a billion
miles away kinda fashion. but it is common knowledge that I’m
ridiculously picky about books…. sigh.

therealtinlizzy - January 7, 2011

well – guess I’ll chalk those both up as basically the same book, and not bother reading How to Live in a Science Fiction Universe ;). Thanks for saving me time I can spend on s/thing else – like Sheri Tepper!

2. Red - January 7, 2011

Ok. So my take away from this was that I needn’t have bothered down loading this book, or the Science Fictional Universe one for that matter, from the Kindle Kollective archives. Alas.

As far as books that filled me with rage due to their suckiness and my stubborn refusal to quit reading, Tales of Burning Love is my winner. Dawny got so pissed at it’s crappiness that she got 10 pages from the end, then threw it across the room never to be touched by her again. Second place winner would be Leash. That one was so bad that our friend Alice pulped it and then made bookmarks out of it so it could see what good books were like. =)

3. Stefanie - January 9, 2011

Oh there is the occasional agony of choosing a book that I don’t get along with. This one has gotten a lot of hype but I have managed to avoid falling for it. Didn’t you download a sample to you Kindle first to make sure you were going to like it? And I know it is hard to quite books when you have gone so far, but spare yourself and stop now. There is no reason for you to waste another minute on a book you don’t like. Life is short and there are lots of other really good books to read!

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