seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

Just finished Up in the Air by Walter Kirn - the book that the Clooney movie was based on (though substantially different). I had heard the book was hilarious and was disappointed that it definitely wasn't. However, if I didn't have the expectation of laughing like I was reading an Evanovich mystery, I think I would have enjoyed it more... it was a good book. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed the writing.

I found the movie intensely good, but it was definitely more inspired by the book than based on it -- a lot has changed in America since 2001 when this was written.

Kirn makes some great observations - this in particular struck me on many levels:

As a younger man, I made the mistake of talking to a stripper, in depth and at length, about her finances. Her income shocked me. It was double mine. She claimed to be saving for college, but when I presser her, I learned that she didn't even have a bank account and supported not one but two delinquent boyfriends. I didn't feel sorry for her, I felt insulted. There I was, the sort of clean achiever this beautiful girl should consider marrying, but instead she was shaking me down for twenties to lavish on my Darwinian inferiors.

Another one:

His painful, frostbitten feet explained the slippers, but the bubbles he blew were the purest affectation, intended to show that he plays by his own Hoyles. He knows, as all the cleverest ones do, that no human being is so interesting that he can't make himself more interesting still by acting retarded at random intervals.

Observations like these really made the book worth reading for me, as they were far more interesting than the story. The end was kinda odd and I didn't really follow it but it doesn't bother me because I was mining the book for insights more than being wrapped up in the characters. I guess I read it like a nonfiction book and I have no regrets, but it sure doesn't seem like praise.