21. Hey Nostradamus! – Douglas Coupland
It seems to me that the best time to read Hey Nostradamus! is when one is in the midst of a depressing existential crisis. Actually, in general Coupland’s characters and the plots tend to speak to me when I’m on the verge of being severely depressed. And considering the current state of employment possibilities for people who have master’s degrees in nearly any field, let alone more than one BA, it appears that the possibilities of being severely depressed are great for quite a few people…quite a few who are also not being addressed by the government’s reported considerations of creating jobs for people in the manufacturing industries (that do tend to support small towns, but still) and sending everyone to college. If basically everyone who has received a liberal arts degree since the year 2000 is still underemployed, it would be nice if anyone who has the capability to hire people would stop dismissing them as overqualified and if that basic fact of underemployment was recognized by a single government entity. That “good job” you can get with a college degree? It doesn’t exist. That degree is about to become even more useless and how dare you consider your own interests when completing your education when you could have just ignored them and been even more miserable than you are with your degree because you never had a chance to pursue any ideas about larger conceptual themes or time to write?
Anyway, Hey Nostradamus! includes several perspectives brought together by one horrific school shooting – a victim (telling her story posthumously), the victim’s boyfriend/impregnator, and the boyfriend/impregnator’s father. It could easily have verged into a number of saccharine territories, but it’s written by Douglas Coupland, so it doesn’t. It can be a little unfocused at times, but the feelings are there.