77. Eleanor Rigby – Douglas Coupland
There’s something about Douglas Coupland’s books that feels empty in an off-puttingly helpful way for me. Whenever I read his work I find something that I can relate to that I didn’t know I needed when I started reading and sometimes I’m not even aware that I’m getting all existentially conflicted before I pick up one of his books and after I read them I feel better…about something or some things and it’s never easy to pin down why or what happened in my brain. He doesn’t write the most relatable characters or situations and sometimes he doesn’t even use words like in JPod with those pages of nothingness (I haven’t finished JPod. I started it in 2008 while working customer service for a gigantic and horrible retail conglomerate – three weeks in I found out I wouldn’t be joining the email team and would only be providing service over the phone, I said I had a migraine and never went back. I don’t regret that.). That said, Eleanor Rigby did not provide me with any existential assistance and I found that very disappointing. I’ve spent significant periods of time alone and there was all this talk of loneliness on the inside cover and it’s named after the lonely people song and I got nothing out of it except for mild irritation about the ending. I guess that’s what I get for going in with hopeful expectations based on previous experiences.
I was looking at reviews of this one and it was mentioned that Liz the narrator made decisions that didn’t make sense, didn’t “ring true” as writing critiques tend to say and I have to agree. In fact, I agree with that from practically the first chapter on. I don’t really expect Coupland books to follow any kind of linear, sensible trajectory, but it still seemed off and then slightly more off and then suddenly we were in Europe and it was even more off than before. Now I want to read The Gum Thief and now I’m all nervous about it. Life After God is turning out to be really useful though, so we’ll see. Maybe I read this one at the wrong time; I don’t think that realization changes anything. Ahh!