I told my wife I might have a little Matthew Klam narrator in me and she was horrified because she had read this book years ago and it helped her to put name and face to the phenomenon of white American men of a certain bent.
These are several (fairly long) stories written clearly by a man in his 30s, looking back and thinking about men in their 20s. These men are so deeply in their 20s it’s painful and hurtful to see them acting. There is a lot of self-congratulating affirmation of personal choices, there’s a lot of possessiveness and preciousness of their own (selfish, very selfish) feelings, and there’s a lot of defensiveness in their thinking about their actions (but not in Matthew Klam’s brilliant and utterly horrifying treatment of them — they spare themselves the self-reflection they might need (and certainly the people around them) but he does not spare them from our gaze). We can see them in ways they can definitely not see themselves.
And worse for them, they are not monsters.
The effect here is a lot of like reading a bunch of stories written by versions of say, Drew Magary stories (about himself and his life) if Drew Magary did not have any self-possession or reflection. It’s like meeting the 20 year old versions of guys in the late 30s who don’t like to talk about their 20 year old selves because of how embarrassed and even horrified they are with their own actions and feelings. This book doesn’t go to a lot of dark places, I promise, so don’t worry about that, but it does go to a lot of really cringing and awful places in other ways.