The sky is falling for the Caspers, a family of cowards. When the parents decide to separate, this family is forced to appreciate the cloudiness of this modern age. (from Amazon)
Okay, true fact: I bought this book solely because of the cover. Well, and the summary– but mostly the cover. I love that cover. That cover is amazing, and it’s such a shame the inside doesn’t match it.
I don’t mind literary fiction. In fact, most of the time I even enjoy it! But what I don’t enjoy is when all literary fiction starts to sound the same. You know what I mean: the lit fic cliches. Cheating spouses. Disaffected modern (Western white) man. Descriptions of sex and/or masturbation that make me want to hurl. These things have become boring to me, and their presence in The Great Perhaps hurt my enjoyment of it big time.
However, The Great Perhaps isn’t a total loss. I really liked how the kids were fully fleshed-out people, and that they did, in fact, act like teenagers instead of miniature adults. I liked that the book had a happy ending. I liked that the beginning of the book reminded me of a Wes Anderson movie, and that if Wes Anderson ever decided to adapt this book to screen it would make for an interesting near-art house film.
The best part of the book was, for me, being able to follow these people around as they went through their lives messing it up and then repairing it at the end. Normally with lit fic books I think the ending leaves you with a bittersweet aftertaste, but with The Great Perhaps all I felt was satisfied.
It’s not my favorite book, and I wish that literary fiction would get some new ideas injected into it once in a while. But it’s not a terrible read. And after the story moved on from Jonathan’s penis and what he was doing with it, I enjoyed following the Caspers through their story.
Read: February 16-18, 2011