At the midway point in this book, all I can say about it is that it is non-stop about dysfunction. All of the characters are weak people who succumb to their basest instincts regardless of the people that they take down with themselves. They are drunks, womanizers, vandals, upstarts, disobedient and reckless children, rude and disrespectful children, rednecks, women who do not respect the parental rights of neighbors, beatnik personalities, liberals, environmentalists, selfish people one and all, who are sure they have the one right way, all of whom seem to have a skewed view of morality and ethics. They are not in touch with their inner selves and seem to be constantly searching for their core. It is a tough book to read because it is impossible to like the characters, and certainly, one does not want to identify with them.
One has to wonder why Oprah chose this book. Certainly, it is well written, and it is an entertaining read, but its main redeeming feature will be that it plays to liberals who love the Bush bashing and general trashing of Republicans or those with conservative views. One has to further wonder if Oprah’s reason for choosing the book was the fact that her candidate, President Obama, is running for re-election and bashing and blaming Bush seems to be his main winning campaign strategy! We all know how he inherited the problems that he has failed to solve. I am sick of these books which are written to advance and promote someone’s political agenda as they masquerade as literature and are praised by an industry peopled with one-sided left of center viewpoints. Also, I am getting quite tired of seeing Jews depicted negatively in so many books, lately. What is the reason for that? I guess it is obvious that this book has irritated my senses.
I soldiered on and finished the book. My opinion is totally unchanged. I wasted an awful lot of time reading about the deterioration of an American family consumed by their own selfishness, never failing to seek the lowest common denominator under the guise of doing something noteworthy and selfless. They had no redeeming features and there was no shred of a positive message that I could find to take away from this overblown, distorted and negative view of Americans and their values. We are not all driven by greed or sex. Some of us actually enjoy our lives and our families and our work and manage to live without hurting others to achieve our own self-interest. The two extremes of the left and right presented in this book represent what is wrong with America but it is not an accurate picture; it is the picture the author wishes to impart. He has managed to make it seem that even altruistic goals always have an underlying, underhanded motive. I found the book depressing and disappointing.
I gave it three stars because it is well written. If it wasn’t, I would have given it no stars. It flies in the face of reality. If the dysfunctional people in the book ever get control of our world, our world will probably cease to exist. We don’t have the time to waste on people who never grow up and need to find themselves in their fifth or sixth decade. That permissive attitude leads to the very decadence the book exposes.