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Home Land by Sam Lipsyte

March 7, 2010

I was really excited to read this book because the reviews all mentioned the off-the-wall narrative and hilarious point of view.  And that aspect of the novel didn’t disappoint.  But, otherwise I wasn’t crazy about this book.  Maybe it was because not only could I not relate to the main character, Lewis Miner, AKA Teabag, but I didn’t like him at all.

Lewis is writing nonsensical, ridiculous and often offensive class notes for this high school’s newsletter.  Of course they are not being published, so all his efforts are wasted.  Which isn’t too surprising since his life is pretty much a waste as well.  He’s unemployed, skipping out on his rent and desperately obsessed with his ex-girlfriend.  His only friend Gary is a bigger loser than Lewis – Gary formerly accused his parents of abuse, but now has retracted and spends most of his days hanging out with his AA sponsor, who is also his dealer.  Make sense?  Don’t worry because it didn’t for me either.

There is a lot going on in this book and Lipsyte’s narrative can be awesomely funny.  The narrative can also be pretty dirty and alarming, which for some reason makes it even funnier.  But the truth is, I just didn’t care about Lewis or Gary or any of the other characters; I just kept reading for the off-the-wall commentary.  So, since the prose was the best part of the novel, here are some of my favorite lines:

She wore this faraway look as though she were conducting some kind of inner fire drill, evacuating the premises of herself in a quiet and orderly fashion.

Making do. Like the Donner Party.

Some alums had acquired new coordinates of toil on the corporate slave grid.  Others were celebrating the advent of poop-smeared approximations of themselves.

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