Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Idiot by Elif Batuman: A Review

When I put The Idiot on my to be read list, I believed that it was going to be a quirky novel with cultural interests.  It is somewhat quirky but Selin's Turkish heritage plays little part in the story and the only references to Turkish culture are about the language.  Selin has just started her freshman year at Harvard and tries to make friends while navigating the strange academic environment.  In a Russian class, she meets Svetlana and the pair become friends while she begins a friendship with Ivan through an email exchange.  Even though the emails coming from Ivan are strange, Selin begins to fall in love with Ivan, even though he already has a girlfriend and is planning on attending graduate school in California a year later. 

I couldn't wrap my head around this book.  There were some funny parts in it and I would say that Batuman has a gift for satire.  Where I fault the book is that it moves so slowly, one can't enjoy the satire.  This reads like a college student's journal, filled with every unimportant detail of her day.  There are too many descriptions of things that have nothing to do with the story and don't move it along.  The  characters were pretty flat and stereotypical but it does add to the satire so it didn't bother me.  The story had potential but it didn't go anywhere.  It was simply too slow for me to enjoy.

Reviews of books like this one:
Who You Think I Am by Camille Laurens
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

This book is available on March 14th and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.  This is my honest opinion of this book.  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program.  By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee.  I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.

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