A review by booksaremyjam
Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer


Is Safran Foer going through a bad divorce? A bout of depression? Did he contemplate the human condition, find it wanting, and decide to write the most god-awfully-depressing series of words I have ever seen?

...This isn't rhetorical.

Safran Foer wrote my all-time favorite novel Everything is Illuminated. His second story about 9/11 was not as good, but still moving and well written. Eating Animals was a nonfiction attempt to understand the human relationship with animal products and, as a vegetarian, I really enjoyed his research.

So why does Here I am suck so bad?

The novel circles around a family: husband, wife, and their three sons. Recurring characters include the paternal grandparents, and the neglected family dog Argus. The family doesn't just have "normal growing pains" or "difficult times" - each character whose brain the reader peers into hates themselves and everyone around them. They are cruel, they are selfish, they are impossible to like. They aren't even fleshed out enough to truly understand them - the reader bases their impressions on the characters hate.

And I just couldn't do it. I couldn't submit myself to ~500 pages of self-loathing and rage. After 200 pages, I skimmed through to see if they ever move past the "I hate you and you and everything" theme of the beginning of the novel. They don't. And thank god I didn't hold on until the end, because holy shit is that a terrible close to a story.
SpoilerI mean, seriously, putting the dog down?! Holy fuck, Safran Foer! Get a therapist!

I guess this is the end for me and Safran Foer. We had a good run, bud, but fuck have you fallen far.