Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Smart, Legitimate, Permanent

May 31, 2007

It seems that people either hate it or love it, and I’m the latter (it helped that the book was set in two of my old stomping grounds: Lake Forest, IL, and Berkeley, CA). HWOSG is, well, genius. Purchased upon the solitary recommendation of a genius in his own right, I took forever to finish it, owing to the fact that it was the behind-the-passenger-seat time-sink for me when The Girl is sleeping in the car. Finally, months later, I finished the final addenda and declared it ‘done’. Besides Didion, it is the best view into the tumultuous world of grief that I’ve come across, and a revealing confession of self-pity and a harrowing search for meaning. Self-help guides and religious band-aids for grief? You can keep ‘em, thanks. Eggers writes from the middle of staggering grief, and the result is heartbreaking and comforting and dizzying.

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5 Responses to “Smart, Legitimate, Permanent”

  1. kate says:

    I liked it, too. Though I’m depressed by how seldom books like these actually effect any change in me! Especially as I read it, oh, about six years ago: (below is a quote from the person you linked to)

    I wish I had read this book 6 years ago. It would have been much more seminal in my thoughts of life, worldview and faith.

    Or, maybe it made a difference, and I didn’t realize it. In any case, cool book.

  2. el mol says:

    mike – glad you liked it. when I finished that book a year and a half ago, I thought to myself, I am sorry I am late to this party. It would have been extremely seminal to my transitionary faith thoughts . woulda-shoulda-coulda . . . . I am glad I finally took the advice of a couple friends. thanks for the props too. you are genius my friend.

  3. el mol says:

    ok, this is really wierd. I just NOW read the above comment and now feel a little embarrased that I typed the exact same comment but completely support Kate for quoting me. I am a jackass and A.D.D. I am now officially late in linking this blog.

  4. Brooke P. says:

    I read this in the time of my life that other’s had wished for themselves. It was profoundly affecting. I had moved to a new town and rode the bus to work every day. I often found myself crying in a crowd of people. Coupled with the words, was humbling in a good way.

  5. el mol says:


    finished A Force of Will. deeply moving in so many ways. I am glad you wrote this book. honored to be allowed a little closer inside your journey with Will and grateful to have this book be a conduit for all kinds of my own personal raw emotions.

    I don’t recommend reading on an airplane (which I did) because it led to several awkward “is that guy crying” moments . . .

    told my wife on the way home why everyone should read this book and I probably will become the guy you don’t want me to become by handing it to a few people stuck inside grief.

    glad to know you from afar.

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