So, the book itself didn’t actually almost kill me- as much as it tried to do- but I just finished this audio book while driving home from work (yay essential workforce) on a highway that was not, in the slightest, plowed. I have been a New Englander my entire life. I like driving in the snow. I am confident, competent, and careful. This was the worst drive I have ever had- no hyperbole. A tractor trailer blew by me (only one lane, mind you) and sent me flying in a tidal wade of snow and slush. I spun around completely-three times- and ended up parallel to a ditch (hooray!) but facing the wrong way. My lack of ditchitude is owed entirely to the fact While getting myself back into position, a mini van blew by while I was mid k-turn. I saw that van smashed to smithereens and surrounded by Staties 20 minutes down the road. While all of this was happening I was listening to entitled white dude Chuck Klosterman compare every woman he has ever kissed to people who had, at one time or another, been members of Kiss.
That’s the end of the “bad drive home” rant, and I thank you for your patience. Now, the Killing Yourself to Live rant can commence!
Yikes. On bikes.
I picked this up (well, added it to the queue on Hoopla) because I was a teen in the early 2000s, and I lived for Spin magazine. I know. I thought Chuck Klosterman was so cool. I enjoyed his appearances on various VH1 shows. I tore through Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs back in high school. I thought this might be a fun look back. I was not correct.
This book, which came out in 2005 but was written throughout most of 2003, is a time capsule. An unflattering time-capsule. The straight-white-guy privilege screams off of the page within the first few moments. There is so much casual misogyny; women are described only by appearance- and CONSTANTLY! How specific women look (or do not look) appealing is the basis of their merit in this world. I thought maybe he would settle into a bearable state, but he did not.
This book is supposed to be an odyssey of traveling to different rock-and-roll death sites throughout the US, but instead it is a guy complaining about getting friend-zoned (while stepping out on other previously designated relationships) while he makes dumb ultimatums with various women across the US. There is a chapter early on where he tells a girl that she has three weeks to choose if she loves him or not, despite her telling him multiple times that she is not interested (while he continues to proclaim his love). Also, if she decides that she does not love him (duh) he will then refuse to have any form of friendship with him. Euuugh. I want to put a picture of Klosterman in here, but I don’t want to shame anyone based on appearance…but if you are interested, go ahead and google this goon and decide for yourself as to how appropriate it is (it is not) for this guy to be demanding female attention. There is also a jaunt where he tells you not to cheat on people not because it is wrong, but because you won’t enjoy the dalliance OR your committed relationship.
Sink this man into the sea.
By the time he finally gets to a destination other than dropping one woman off and picking up another while talking about yet another, it is for a brief moment. We learn a bit of the Great White fire tragedy in RI, before he goes off on how great it is to do cocaine (though he’s not really a cocaine guy, you guys) and how he didn’t understand why he was asked to pick up a pregnancy test “how is that my responsibility?” when he had possibly gotten a friend pregnant- who he immediately stops talking about again to comment on the weight of his female research assistant. THIS GUY. There is NO woman in this book that he does not first make a comment on their appearance before telling us anything else. He has also expressed romantic and/or sexual interest in ALL BUT ONE- a girlfriend of a friend that he called “terrible and fat”. What a prince.
Please forgive all of the run-on-sentences, this man just made me SO ANGRY!
While he’s supposed to be off researching Duane Allman’s death he stops at a Cracker Barrell, where he is immediately in love with his 19 year old waitress. He proceeds to mansplain rock music to her. She does not blink or make any acknowledgement of his statements, which he comments on and takes to mean that she is listening and interested! She brings up Kafka and dreaming, and he is BLOWN AWAY that this GIRL at a CRACKER BARREL reads books and has ideas. He is condescending and vile. She brings him his order without making any more small talk, then he goes back to his hotel room and fantasizes about fucking her. Or one of the other women brought up in this book.
Since this book was written some years ago, we do get some oddly relevant “current events”. A certain lionized and recently deceased basketball player is on trial for rape, and Klosterman wonders why-despite some damning evidence- the accuser should be protected, as “maybe she’s just crazy and does this all the time”. Yikes. He goes off for a bit on the mental state of accusers, then decides that-despite his misogyny- the guy is guilty ONLY because he is a professional basketball player. I was cringing so hard throughout this section I thought my molars would crack.
He goes on to spend a great deal of time reminiscing about playing high school sports, getting high at 31 and creeping on high school kids, and attempting to break up women from their fiances- because if they get married, he “loses”.
The final chapter is particularly terrible, as he attempts to make a whole meta thing about his friends telling him NOT to write this book, not to continue to talk about women who want nothing to do with him, and not to compare himself to Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Acknowledging these things but doing it any way makes him so hip and ironic.
Avoid this like the plague.
I’d like to give this Zero Stars, but “unrated” doesn’t have the zing. One Star it is.