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marlena

marlena

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made - Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell

I have found myself saying this - very nearly out loud - at the end of every chapter so far.

Hell - Robert Olen Butler If Hell were a 79¢ microwavable burrito it would come in the green wrapper and it's flavor would be mild.

I bought this book when it first came out, having excited myself over the synopsis. A snarky, adult, pop-culture referencing trip through Hell? That's so up my alley. I had started it immediately but according to the old receipt-turned-bookmark I only made it to page 40. What had happened?

Probably not by coincidence, it was around page 40 on the reread that I realized why I dropped Hell the first time.

I don't care about any of the characters. And I don't mean 'care' as in "have strong emotion for". I mean care as in "give at least half a shit about". At least half!

The constant name-dropping of a known persons (dead or just fictionally dead) was fun at first. It really was! George W. Bush? Funny! Albert Speer? A well used reference! Snoop Dogg? Eh, this is getting embarrassing. It became so tiring. Who's Hatcher McCord gonna walk by next?? The author photo on the back flap of the dust jacket shows Butler's floating, disembodied head lurking near a computer screen. I can only imagine that after the camera clicked, Butler immediately reopened Wikipedia in a new tab, repeatedly hit Random Page, and thought aloud "Alright, who else can I squeeze into this bitch?"

I spent most of the book prepared to give it a very generous three stars, until the unreadable, unforgivable departure into the succubus story. And I say unreadable not only because it was shit (and it was), but because I could not harness my eyeballs to stop rolling into oblivion, which makes it hard keep one's place on the page. This abysmal hackitude knocked the whole novel back to a well-deserved if only theoretical zero stars (c'mon Goodreads, some things really are that bad!)

Sadly, from this point the book never really recovers. Hell's schtick just gets older and more tiresome and you just want it to be over. The moralizing at the end felt empty and unlearned, being handed to you rather than extrapolated from the story.

...But, I did laugh. Even out loud sometimes! And Butler does have a talent for dialogue, which was clever without beating you over the head about how clever it was being. Kudos, I guess.

It was a strange feeling, this book. When I put it down, after a while I would think about how much I wanted to keep reading. But then, every time I picked it back up I remembered why I had put it down in the first place.

Which is, perhaps, a lot like eating a microwavable burrito.
The Night of the Gun - David Carr Well this book was a whole lot of self-indulgent nothing. It's the story of a horrible douchebag who becomes less of a horrible douchebag over time. Mind you, this is supposed to be impressive. (Spoiler: It's not.) David Carr presents his crowning achievement - the whole basis of his redemption - as the fact that at least he takes care of his children (well he does now anyway.) Let me give Mr. Carr a Christian Bale style "gooood for you." Pro tip: You're supposed to take care of your kids, you dickhole. Keep waiting for that golf clap, buddy. Oh, and of course that he was allowed to keep his career whilst being a raging, royal fuck up. God damn, it must be hard being a white male in America.

If you enjoy hearing an unending stream of back-to-back stories that begin with "Dude, wasn't last night crazy?" then by all means have fun with this book.

If you, like me, thought this was going to be a suspenseful investigatory journey with a dose of healthy self-reflection and personal inventory taking that actually shows an honest progression from wild man-child to someone worth giving a shit about... whelp.

Oh and one more thing; he writes freely about the whoreishness of the various strippers he patronizes and confesses to beating multiple women in his life and then dedicates the book to his young daughters. Holy shit, someone hold my hair back. I am puking.

There is nothing interesting about David Carr or his personal journey and I am left wondering why he decided to share it with the rest of us. There are only a million other addiction-centered memoirs in the world... you can skip this one.