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This is not like reading Alfred Lord Tennyson, but neither is it like inhaling from a bag of glue.
This is not my usual cup of tea. But then again, I don't drink tea so I really ought to say this is not my usual cup. But then again, a cup is topologically equivalent to a doughnut and I do like doughnuts so I thought, meh why not have a bite. Folks, let me warn you binge reading on the basis of capriciously formed excuses is as caustic as binge eating, and this is not a rabbit hole you want to be falling into.Also, the recommendation for this book came from an unreliable source (my boyfriend)
This reading experience was like no other. Robison's main character invites/swallows(?) the reader far into her everyday life. One moment she is reading her to-do list, another she is speeding down the highway blasting music, out-racing the cops. One time she threw her sunglasses out her car window, then proceeded to run over them 37 times. The details of our world--fabrics, rugs, paint, pets, phones, litter, drugs, gifts, laundry, cigarettes, radios, chairs, clothes, drawers, newspapers--are in...
I almost stopped reading this because it felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. I kept reading because it made me laugh out loud. I’m glad I persisted because I wound up loving it and wanting to go back and highlight all the clever lines
I had heard a lot of great things about this novel, and now I understand why. From the author of the dysfunctional family novel Oh!, Why Did I Ever is comedic, quirky, creative and deeply original.
I like this book. It has many little sections. This book is funny and calm.
This wild ride of a woman with a scrambled brain, a wacky career doctoring film scripts, and two grown children in terrible trouble reads like a series of Booth cartoon captions, if Booth were a woman who worked in Hollywood. Or it might also be written like a series of disconnected numbered scenes in a Hollywood shooting script. Or, or, or . . . who knows? I don't. It is funny and sad and completely unhinged. I enjoyed it.
Before I get going, it's worth pointing out that I read this almost entirely because a friend of mine, who is a writer, was very influenced by this book. Left to my own devices, I likely wouldn't have picked it up. So be aware that I'm not Robison's audience. That said, I'm concerned that there are very serious things wrong with me, and that this book brought them all out. I don't care very much about 'consistent characters' or verisimilitude or realism or whatever. That said, this book seems to...
Holy hell that was fucking fantastic.
“Why Did I Ever?” by Mary Robison, was top on a list of “50 Great Reads Under 200 Pages” on Lit Hub for recommended reading during the current COVID 19 Lockdown. I immediately remembered that I’d loved it when it came out in 2001, and went to my bookshelf to retrieve it to read again, and turning the flyleaf remembered that I had first re-read it in 2014 when I saw it on a list of “50 Cult Classics”! So this was my third read. I also found my old review of it and it still holds! I even knew then...
Launched on a minimalist female authors kick (thanks Amy Hempel!) I set out looking for Mary Robison. This is her most recent novel (2001), as I haven't found anything earlier yet. It forms a loose narrative out of hundreds of tiny segments (word is, she wrote it on notecards!). It's funny, sharp, sweet, honest - an often less than flattering, but always bold and affectionate portrait of a woman, somewhere past her thirties, dating an "idiot" who falls into the category of men who are "over thir...
I loved this book. Robison has taken the little moments and distractions--no matter how mundane--that make up our existence, and crafted them into something meaningful and quite beautiful. The book was born in her effort to defeat a kind of 'writer's block', and for me it proves something I believe to be true about writing: you can only find the work by doing it. Robison's sentences are like hard little gems, and her sense of humor and the telling detail are very fine. As a writer, this is a boo...
An ex once said I was probably the only Mary Robison queen on earth and it's a title I wear proudly. Easily my favorite writer, I revisit her work often and my (already fanatic) love deepens with each reading. Why Did I Ever was always one of my least favorites, something that seems extremely foreign to me now, having giggled like a numskull princess on the train over the last few days. Her humor and precision are effortless and ineffable, qualities all too mishandle or altogether missing in con...
This is a great example of minimalist fiction. Robison uses brief, diary-styled entries to tell this story of a screenwriter who appears to be going crazy. The result is sparse but seemingly effortless prose imbued with sadness, anger and humor.
Do you remember the first time you felt old- that moment you were in a shoe store and you’re looking for a pair of sneakers. Just a plain pair of shoes- black or white, monotone; absolutely nothing flashy. You know, the kind you wore in high school. But instead you’re surrounded by all these neon monstrosities. There’s tie dye, electric green, leopard print, wild Rubik’s cube patterned running shoes. Everything is loud and instagramable and there are colors that match your hipster wardrobe, your...
Found this novel via Jane Alison's Meander, Spiral, Explode, which cited Why Did I Ever as an example of a radially-structured narrative. I loved this, loved the fragment form, and found it totally propulsive despite (because of?) the non-traditional structure.
One of those rare books that I like more and more each time I read it--first time around I thought it was merely clever and chic. By now I have favorite passages underlined that I read aloud to myself just for the fun of it. And yes, there's even a cat in it.
The voice holds this book together. A self destructive character with a razor sharp tongue is good, if often chaotic company. 'Strap in and hang on' might be the best approach to reading this, rather than looking for anything too linear.
"Why Did i Ever" read this book!!!! I got nothing out of it! I gave it 2 stars for originality.
I really want to own this book and highlight the shit out of it, because it is, for the most part, just so relatable that it (almost) hurts. And if anyone actually cares, this is probably the most telling quote of the book, the knot keeping it all together, as far as i know and care. "There's a lot you can do with paper and scissors, if you have scissors. I don't, and i don't really look nice enough to step outside and walk across the gravel courtyard to the office of this motor inn to borrow a
Perfect calamity reading. Like reading 500 short, touching poems with a narrative throughline that’s compelling without letting you get too attached, more attached than you feel you can offer in quarantine.
This book was surprising!! A diaristic sort of autofiction that includes a murder trial, a script about Bigfoot and a lot of late night drives to New Orleans, but that's all kind of on the fringes. In total, its about a woman named Money who is doing her best.
This is a beautiful weirdo right here.
I have no idea what I just read, but I couldn't stop laughing. Deserves a re-read. 4.7 stars.
I was recommend this by someone whose taste (and writing) I greatly respect and admire so I was all prepared to absolutely love it and start pressing my copy enthusiastically into the hands of my friends. Unfortunately, it took me a long while (about a third of the way in) to feel like I had any clue what the plot was, what the purpose of the at times sentence-long chapters was and why I should care about this woman. An emotional reveal gave the story more pathos and convinced me to keep reading...
The narrative rhythm in this book, the short brilliant sections that leave you out of breath - the humor butting up against a worried life, against impossible pain - make sense when the narrator's trouble is revealed. How to get her arms around what's been thrown her? Robison's arms are long. I go to school in her sentences.
Here's how this writer's work reads: Apparently she will write an entire story making sure characters have odd names, then, take a few middle pages, call them a story and discard the rest - This is oreo-filling writing and it drove me a little crazy.
ha, loved this. so funny give me a hit of that so i can keep coughing'are you all alone?' i ask myself. 'all alone,' i say I would say to my cat, 'there's no place very safe for any of us anymore.'
A friend is interested in vignette novels. I read this on his rec.
"He said it because it was a thing he knew"