i had seen dave eggers on dinner for five before i read this book and i liked him: he seemed really smart and sincere about the charity work he was doing. my friends really liked his first book, this book, and i decided to read it even after i had read his story in the mcsweeney anthology mammoth tales, and was stultified by it. a pseudo memoir would be different, i reasoned, and i was predisposed to like him. probably for the first thirty pages i was very engaged but gradually i realized that i hated his writing voice. yes, he was clever, and smart. but i wanted to punch him in the face too. i finished the book disappointed that i didn't like it but also understanding it was unlikely i would ever read a book of his again.
eggers, franzen, dfw, none have been for me. since i have only read brief interviews with hideous men by wallace, some argue that i could change my mind. and maybe i'm just not in the right place in my life to appreciate these voices, but i've hated margaret atwood for a long time, and it's not because i think she's a talentless hack. it's because i just don't like her writing voice, and i am pretty sure the same is true with regard to the author of this work.