I read this book. i finished it today, and loved it the whole way through. I read a lot of books, I don’t love
many a fair amount of books. I know Tao because I published him, and got dinner with him once and he told me to take my time and make that book better, and I did. Once I was drunk and sad and he sent me sad emo songs to make me feel better. Anyway that is my Tao Lin disclaimer: I know from a good book, I know Tao but not so much that I would blindly defend him, we all know Tao is weird, I liked this book. I can see not liking this book, but I just can’t see being infuriated by it. Also if I read of one more person pretending such amazement at his “crazy marketing schemes” the veins in my eyes will pop. It as if someone has called attention to the artifice of self-promotion and everyone feels they have to distance themselves from it.
This review was funny to be because if anything, if any one thing, this book was about TO ME, it was about intimacy. It was about the tiny worlds and intricacies of language that are built between two people, or can be, and if a writer is very, very good at what he or she does, are portrayed in books. The story, to me, was about being silly, and being young and being awful and saying and doing awful things, yes of course, and being trapped in your own head and on gchat (my god, who has portrayed this better? this is where you spend most of your LIVES, some of us, and it isn’t in literature. i keep thinking we have to figure out a way. tao is figuring out a way. don’t be ashamed of your gchat lives; there’s a lot to unpack there), but also not killing yourself, also wanting someone to change and then discovering how wrong that is and how fucked up you are too, also writing a book as a transcendent act, also seeing how awful something was and writing a book, also being hilarious in the pages of this book, also constructing a narrative that makes one turn the pages of this book.
You enter this world, this language, on the terms of the writer. I liked inhabiting it; it is a challenge—the cadence, the verbal tics, the refusal to be anything but itself, but Taos style opens up here, it feels more generous—and mostly, i am not threatened by it. It makes me laugh—who has captured being silly with a friend or a lover better? Whom? Name one— it makes me sad—that multi-page list of things she lied about made me CRY, zach! i cry a lot but not for nothing and that passage was so Good—and it carves out a space to be perfectly itself. I visited that space, that world, whenever I found time, and I would go back.