Book Review in Many Words: Tao Lin’s “Eee Eee Eee”
I would’ve liked to try and condense this review into our “100 words or less” category, but I’m sort of pissed at how much this book sucks, and didn’t want to curb my unpleasant reaction.
Tao Lin is a really great writer if you like reading accounts of boring and mundane events made even more boring and mundane by his exhaustive, repetitive, and confusing descriptions. I was reminded of this by the recent story on Gawker that recounts Tao Lin’s ejection from the NYU book store. Lin writes the story himself, and after probably 300 words, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. He uses pages and pages to describe an incident that probably took no more than 2 hours, and isn’t wildly entertaining to begin with. Who even cares that you got thrown out of the NYU bookstore (unless you set it on fire or something)? BORING.
So anyway, this one time I started reading “Eee Eee Eee.” I got halfway through, and I’m still pretty sure that nothing (interesting, at least) has happened. Sure, there are dolphins and bears and weird shit, but it is without question the most banal “weird shit” I’ve ever read, because it doesn’t mean a damn thing and seems only to exist as an attempt at distracting the reader from how fucking bored they are. It may just be one of the most useless pieces of text I have ever held up in front of my face. I really didn’t want to quit on the book, because I’m no quitter, and because I didn’t want the $4.90 I spent purchasing it from the clearance table at Urban Outfitters to go to waste, but, after about a few pages, I can see why even disaffected hipsters wouldn’t buy this piece of trash for the cover price.
Tao Lin is like Miranda July if Miranda July sucked and wasn’t any good at what she does, which is create genuinely unique and human characters. Tao Lin’s characters are bored rich suburbanites who are depressed and boring and depressing and never do anything. And not even in an interesting way. In a way that screams, “Hey I wrote this book about myself when I was a student at NYU and I came from the suburbs which are just so boring and numbing and that’s interesting want to read about it? I have no experience outside of my insular pointless life which is probably just like your insular pointless life so while this is completely uninteresting you can at least relate. Oh I’m just so above it all that I am bored to tears.” Some people are just like, too fucking cool to care, right?
There is nothing likable about the main character in this book. All he does is moan about being depressed and bored and how he misses some girl who is only vaguely described and is, as far as I can tell, a cookie cutter Manic Pixie Dream Girl who is just sooo quirky how could anyone not be in love with her? Regardless of the unbelievability and nonexistence of a girl like this, if she were real, chances are 100% that she wouldn’t want to hang out with a brooding, boring douchebag like the main character.
In conclusion, it’s possible that I would give Tao Lin another chance. But let’s just make it very clear, so far, he sucks. It’s like he’s trying to be the representative for “our” generation of apathetic, American Apparel-wearing, coffee-drinking, film/writing/art students in the way that Dave Eggers created a voice for the disaffected yet idealistic MTVers of his, except that he sucks. And I know a lot of people don’t like Dave Eggers, but this guy isn’t even a Dave Eggers. I just want to punch this book right in its fucking face!!