Half Empty

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Random House LLC, Sep 6, 2011 - Pessimism - 240 pages
27 Reviews
The inimitably witty David Rakoff,This American Lifestalwart and bestselling author, looks at the modern world and his own life in defense of the commonsensical notion that you should always assume the worst.

In this deeply funny memoir, David Rakoff examines his own life and the realities of our sunny, gosh-everyone-can-be-a-star contemporary culture. He finds that, pretty much as a universal rule, the best is not yet to come, adversity will triumph, justice will not be served, and your dreams won't come true. Although David has a long-nurtured abhorrence of "inspirational" memoirs, much of the book recounts his own personal experiences: the moment when being a tiny child no longer meant adults found him charming but instead meant other children found him a fun target; the late evening in Manhattan when he was young and the city seemed to brim with such possibility that the street shimmered in the moonlight — as he drew closer he realized the streets actually shimmered with rats in a feeding frenzy. He also weaves in his brand of acute and Oscar Wilde-worthy cultural criticism (the sad state of the outdated "House of Tomorrow" at Disneyland, for one). It all adds up to proof of the proposition: Always be a pessimist, and you'll never be disappointed.


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Review: Half Empty

User Review  - Jessica Rosner - Goodreads

Some of this is funny, some hilarious. My favorite is the rant about the mighty hit show, Rent. It is hard to imagine anyone hating Rent, especially not a thoughtful gay NY writer. But hate it he does ... Read full review

Review: Half Empty

User Review  - Clay Scott Brown - Goodreads

David Rakoff's Half Empty is being called 'Defensive Pessimism' a term coined by some on the Internet. I assumed that the book would be a scathing report of today's Positive Outlook as fanciful and ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

DAVID RAKOFF is the author of theNew York TimesbestsellingDon't Get Too ComfortableandFraud. He is a writer-at-large forGQmagazine, and a regular contributor toThe New York TimesMagazineand Public Radio International'sThis American Life. He has also written forOutside,Vogue,The New York ObserverandSalon.


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