Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Gum Thief - Douglas Coupland
I loved this book. How can you not love a book with a first paragraph such as this?
“A few years ago it dawned on me that everybody past a certain age – regardless of how they look on the outside – pretty much constantly dreams of being able to escape from their lives. They don’t want to be who they are any more. They want out. This list includes Thurston Howell the Third, Ann-Margret, the cast members of Rent, Vaclav Havel, space shuttle astronauts and Snuffleupagus. It’s universal.”
Mr. Coupland, you had me at Thurston Howell the Third - Snuffleupagus just cinched it.
The Gum Thief – a tale of two (supposed) misfits who work in the local Staples store - is full of such references to pop culture. Part social commentary, part love story (in the human sense of the word love, not the romantic one) the book highlights the absurdities of life, our consumer oriented society and the human condition.
Coupland doesn’t leave you with a sense of angst and despair as to these absurdities – he has you laughing and becoming aware of how you live your life vis-à-vis the craziness surrounding us all.
He offers hope. The ability of human beings to connect with one another is our saving grace. The two main characters do so by means of correspondence. (Which reminded me of blogging.) They reach out and touch each other’s lives in such a meaningful, amazing way.
I’ve never yet rated a book on this blog but I’m doing it now.
On a scale of 1 – 10, The Gum Thief is a 10.
You can view video snippets of the book on YouTube. (I have yet to take the time to figure out how to put YouTube on my blog…sorry.) However, in my opinion, although these videos are very well done, they do not do justice to the book itself. You must read it for yourself.
P.S. To Diesel – I don’t know if your Make Diesel Read site is still active but I think you’d love this book. And should read it. Coupland’s mind reminds me of yours! In a good way…all in a good way…