July 18, 2007

Too awful to finish: "You Don't Love Me Yet," by Jonathan Lethem

(Longtime followers of my creative projects know that in general I don't like publishing bad reviews; that for the most part I see it as a waste of both my time and yours, in that I could be spending that time instead pointing out great artists you may have never heard of. However, since one of the things this website is dedicated to is honest artistic criticism, I also feel it's important to acknowledge books that I found just too bad to bother finishing, as well as give you an idea of why I found them that bad to begin with. Hence, this series of short essays. Don't forget, the entire list of books I've found too awful to finish can be found on CCLaP's main book review page.)

You Don't Love Me Yet, by Jonathan Lethem

The Accused: You Don't Love Me Yet, by Jonathan Lethem (Doubleday / ISBN: 978-0-385-51218-3)

How far I got: 99 pages (about halfway through)

1) Asking us to give a rat's ass about the truly miserable indie-rock characters on display -- possibly the most untalented, pretentious, snotty, empty-headed, navel-gazing Los Angeles losers the world of contemporary literature has ever given us.

2) Reminding us of just how many of these circle-jerk losers end up internationally famous as part of the indie-rock scene, in many cases because of some postmodern media-celebrity-slash-performance-artist who is usually snottier and less tolerable than even them. Yeah, thanks, Lethem; like being an underground artist isn't f---ing depressing enough.

3) Positing a world where an attractive, empowered female bass player would become obsessed with one of the most obviously misogynistic woman-hating literary characters I've come across in years; so obsessed, in fact, that she starts creating lyrics for her band around the obliquely sexist things the man tells her during their anonymous phone-complaint sessions, which of course are part of a super-duper-pretentious conceptual-art installation piece that the bass player has been hired to be a part of (don't ask, seriously, SERIOUSLY, don't ask).

4) Living in Brooklyn. Yeah, you heard me.

Verdict: Oh, so guilty.

Sentence: A five-year exile from the traditional literary industry, writing snotty CD reviews instead for Pitchfork. Seriously, Doubleday -- you need to start peddling this crap to pretentious 19-year-old indie-rockers who don't know any better, and leave us intelligent people the f--k alone.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:10 AM, July 18, 2007. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |