“People are really trying their best. Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing. Let’s all give each other a pass, shall we?”
“I am the furthest thing from a do-gooder. I am venal and flib and too clever by half, I know, but the thrill of the most brilliantly quicksilver aperçu is no match for the self-interested high I get from having done someone a good turn. You’d think I’d do more good turns as a result, but there you go.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Essays seem to be well suited to my ADD tendencies, I don’t know why I have avoided them for so long. I think when Lene Dunham’s character Hanne on Girls gave her parents a few sheets torn out from her notebook with her “Essays” scrawled on them and they in turn abandoned her in NY, I decided essayists really suffer for their craft and it’s only respectful to check it out. Also, I am a huge fan of This American Life and listen to it while getting ready in the morning, which makes my morning routine really long and drawn out but very interesting. This is where I first heard David Rakoff, if you are not familiar with him check out his spoken word work here , you will laugh so hard your mascara will run.
I hate when people say David Rakoff is a Canadian David Sedaris. That they both are named David, write essays, have forest animals on the covers of their books, possess a dry sense of humor mostly based around their very insane families is hardly enough reasons to make so many comparisons between them. That Sedaris was a mentor to Rakoff could explain some of the similarities. However, for me Rakoff seems like a toned down, well-restrained version of Sedaris. Where Sedaris goes wide and wacky, Rakoff reels it in, puts it under the microscope for a good hard look, and yet still manages to find the absurd.
Half empty makes the case that there is something to pessimism and melancholy, the case becomes ever more poignant when you realize this is the last book he published.