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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers

After losing both of his parents to cancer within 5 months of each other, Dave Eggers finds himself in charge of raising his younger brother, Toph. This book is a candid account of his parents' deaths and of his and Toph's life together afterwards.
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Links of Interest:

Read an excerpt

Reading Group Guide - discussion questions from Vintage Books.
Review - Medical Humanities
Review - January Magazine
Being Dave Eggers - by Michael D. Murie
Dave Eggers' Mystery Box - Time Magazine Article
McSweeney's on the Net

Read more about it, or buy it at Amazon.com


Discuss it at "The Book Venue Buzz"
Eggers worries that because he is neither a woman nor a neat, well-organized person, people assume that he can't take care of Toph. Which aspects of Eggers' parenting are most admirable? Which are most comic? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each aspect?

In the remarkable acknowledgments section, which is a brilliant critique and discussion of the book as a whole, Eggers points out that "the success of a memoir . . . has a lot to do with how appealing its narrator is. What is appealing about Eggers as a narrator?

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Reader Reviews:

Submitted by Sharon (May 2001) I thought this book was powerful and cleverly written. Although the story is sad, Eggers has managed to add a great amount of humor throughout and at the same time convey the anguish of his loss and his tremendous feelings of responsibility in taking care of his brother Toph. The book entertains from the start, with an unusually lengthy and funny acknowledgements section. From there Eggers proceeds to tell of his parents' passing and how he and his siblings coped afterwards. The narrative is filled with touching and humorous details of his and Toph's life together and Eggers frequently lapses into self criticism, self doubt and general confusion about the circumstances they find themselves in. Although I personally could do without some of the harsh language, I thought that the energy, humor and reflectiveness of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" was great.