Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Flatscreen"

Looking at the cover of this book, I thought I would love Eli Schwartz. Authors raved over how funny it was. Then, I opened it and started reading. I waited for the funny. Instead, I learned I loathed Eli Schwartz.

Why?

  • Eli is a grown man who lives with his mother.
  • Eli has no job.
  • Eli has never driven a car and needs a ride to and from places he cannot reach on a bicycle.
  • Eli is overweight.
  • Eli passes the days getting high with other losers.
Now, if you saw those things on an online dating profile, most of you would roll your eyes and move on. Seeing those things in a book, I stuck it out because I thought at some point, Eli will stop disappointing me. If you've ever known someone who refuses to be a grown up (this means getting a job, living on your own and not associating with losers who just want to keep you from doing the first two things), you should not be surprised when you find yourself sighing in disgust every time Eli does something stupid. You will do that a lot. He does many stupid things.

Still, Eli has his charming moments. He has somehow become a good cook. He wants to heal his broken family. He wants love. It's his despicable flaws that hold him back.

This is why I mostly hated Eli and wondered what the other authors saw that I did not. So I kept reading. It wasn't until page 258 (of 327) that I began to cheer Eli. He started making the effort to turn his life around. It may never be perfect. It may never be "happily ever after." But it is better than the life he had. 

Unlike the others who read this and "nearly died from laughter," I still can't relate. It's too hard for me to find humor in someone who continues to fail himself. By the end of this book, I found myself smiling hopefully for Eli. I think even he'd do the same.
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