A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Dave Eggers is amazing. I really enjoyed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It was funny, despite being tragic. Eggers is able to take his reflections on some very difficult circumstances and find the joy of life within them.

When Eggers was in his early 20s both of his parents died in a short period of time. Eggers and his adult brother and sister are left with the responsibility of caring for their 8-year-old brother. Eggers takes guardianship of his youngest brother, and they move to California. The situation is a literal mess at times (have you ever seen the apartment or dorm room of a young man in his 20s? I have, and certainly wish I could wash off that experience), but they figure it out as they go along.

Eggers’ writing style is very unique, starting from the prologue. He often goes into these rants about how he imagines things to happen before he talks about how they actually happened. I loved this. It was great to get inside his brain for a bit. I am guilty of jumping to the worse case scenario and playing conversations or situations out in my head before they happen, and they are always wrong. Eggers has similar thoughts, and it was great to read.

Overall, I recommend this book! It will keep you on your toes. It makes sense for this to be on the books-to-read-in-your-20s list. It’s really about continuing to live your life no matter what is thrown at you. While his life is overwhelming and painful, Eggers keeps on living, and by the end, years have passed, and he has lived them well. Happy reading!