Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Rating: 3/5 stars
“‘You don’t understand, Leonard’
The phrase I hate the most in the world. I do understand. Not everything, but a lot. And what I don’t understand, I certainly want to learn more about.”
Leonard, or Lenny, Abramov is a 39 year old business man working to make people live forever. He, himself, is not in perfect physical condition, but he travels around the world in search of good candidates. While in Europe, he meets a beautiful, and much younger, girl named Eunice who captures his heart. He journals about Eunice and invites her to stay with him in New York when they both arrive back in the states. Although very mismatched, the couple finds themselves living together a few weeks later. Through Lenny’s journal entries and Eunice’s chat logs with her friends, these two narrate what a complicated relationship truly looks like.
I picked up this book because I saw my friend reading it for his college English class. He actually told me that he really did not enjoy it, but I wanted to give it a try for myself. I genuinely thought I would like this book more, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.
Super Sad True Love Story reads more like a catalogue of events and feelings than an actual novel. Most of the book is told in the format of Lenny’s journal entries which are, to be honest, really pathetic. He is a really unlikeable character whose only redeeming quality is his ability to somehow always see the good in a girl who treats him poorly. I felt bad for Lenny while reading his pitiful diary entries, but not bad enough to actually like him as a character.
Eunice, too, doesn’t have very many good qualities about her. She plays with the heart of a man who truly wants the best for her, uses her parents for money, and seems to lack general maturity. On top of this, it wasn’t even fun to read from her point of view. I skimmed most of her sections.
I gave this book a lot of patience and wasn’t really rewarded in the end. That being said, I did read all the way through it without being put in a reading slump. The quality of writing and narration was there, but I couldn’t get on board with the characters. I wish I had liked Super Sad True Love Story more.