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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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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Discussion questions: 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?

Submitted by Sharon, posted on Saturday May 05, @10:12PM

Re: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I'd like to reply to the question regarding Dave's appeal as a narrator. It was his candid expression of any emotion regardless of, or in spite of how appealing it sounds that got me started on a whole new vein of literature. The reader's acceptance is welcome for, but not won by the methods I had grown used to. Underneath his story is the constant assurance that he sincerely hopes you fare well. After reading the book, I followed the trail on to McSweeney's, (a new addiction of mine) and then to new to me authors. I never would have found Infinite Jest, for one.
In Shadowlands, CS Lewis is told we read to know we are not alone. Dave's crowning glory is this achievement in particular.
In final conclusion, this book was my first step back into voracious reading, because of the author's winning tone and ability to relate his experience with a candor I had never seen to this extreme.

by Robin on Saturday November 29, @08:31AM

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