Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

This was one of those books with nothing wrong with it that I just didn’t like very much. It’s written well, it has a plot and a structure, but it just all feels too thinky. It’s about something other than the people in it (in this case, Judaism). I can’t help but believe that the ideas came first, and the characters were created to convey them. He set out to write a book about Judiaism (which really means male Judaism) and so he did, but the characters mostly feel like absurdly clever props. No one lives like that day to day. It has to be constructed, described in a way that incorporates revision. There are so many perfectly clever one-liners coming out of people’s mouths or, for that matter, articulated inside their heads, that it’s kind of exhausting to read.

Plus the long, drawn-out dying dog scene, of course. Can’t write a book without that these days.

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