Wednesday, November 19, 2008
You Shall Know Our Velocity!
Dave EggersJuly 2003
Okay, so we've got two guys, Will and Hand. Will is our narrator and he's got $80,000 burning a hole in his pocket. Someone took a picture of him screwing in a light bulb (yes, I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke) and a light bulb company then paid him the 80 grand to use his picture on their packaging. Only Will feels like he doesn't deserve the money and he's determined to get rid of it by travelling to third world countries and randomly handing out wads of cash to seemingly deserving people. Oh, and Hand goes along for the ride.
So that's the basic story. Except there's more. Prior to the trip, Will got the shit beat out of him in a storage locker for no apparent reason. Consequently, he's not looking the handsomest. Their friend Jack died in a car accident and Will isn't coping too well. And, they can't always get there from here. Or even from there. In fact, someone needs to introduce these two bozos to SlowTravel. Because they suck at trip planning. Just saying.
This is pretty much the whole book. And it was entertaining and thought provoking (you had to be there) for awhile. Then it floundered (why do we say floundered anyways...why not halibuted?).
Lucky me, just about the time it floundered-halibuted, I googled to see what I was missing (come on, don't you ever do that?). And hello. It seems I was missing quite a bit. Like a whole middle section written by Hand after the fact that sheds a bunch of light on Will and his actions and his mental state. Unless Hand was lying, but we might not ever know that. Unless Eggers writes another reality check piece and re-names his book yet again. See, Eggers wrote Hand's addendum after the book was published, then turned around and published the new version with a different title. Then he changed the title back to the original and re-re-published with the additional section. What the heck? Can authors do that? And how come I bought a version without the mysterious middle section. I mean, that's not fair...Barnes and Noble should take pity on us ignorant consumers and post a big giant buyer beware poster in the Eggers section. Because what if I'd never googled the title and found the link (thank you wikipedia) to the extra pages that pretty much both negated and enhanced everything I'd just read? I would've finished the book thinking "eh." Now I'm thinking "WTF was that all about, Mr Eggers?"
Raych gave this book 9 caterpillars, but I think I just ran over three of her caterpillars with my bicycle. Anyone else read this?