A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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Pan Macmillan, 2007 - Families - 437 pages
3921 Reviews
Dave Eggers is a terrifically talented writer; don't hold his cleverness against him. What to make of a book called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Based on a True Story? For starters, there's a good bit of staggering genius before you even get to the true story, including a preface, a list of "Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book," and a 20-page acknowledgements section complete with special mail-in offer, flow chart of the book's themes, and a lovely pen-and-ink drawing of a stapler (helpfully labeled "Here is a drawing of a stapler:"). But on to the true story. At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a 'single mother' when his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother's upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him.

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Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

User Review  - Nathan - Goodreads

3.5 Some parts of this were pieces of brilliant writing, and most of those greatest sections were when he was critiquing himself. There were occasional moments when I was annoyed by the style but much ... Read full review

Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

User Review  - Colin Ennis - Goodreads

This book is not conventional. This book is not meant to be a traditional memoir, inflated as it is with rambling prose and unconcerned as it is with the interest of the reader. A lot of people seem ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Dave Eggers, a former professional stundman, is the editor of McSweeney's and the author of the New York Times bestseller A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

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