Andrew Seal points to an interesting find within the bowels of Google Books: the almost-complete text of a 2007 book by Karl Bridges, 100 Great American Novels You’ve (Probably) Never Read. True enough, the number of books listed that I’ve read comes to exactly two—and one of them, sorry to say, is Jay McInerney‘s Story of My Life.
I read the novel as a teenager, and recall actively disliking it. But then, like most teenagers, I was a more susceptible to received wisdom, and my chief guide through the 80s brat-pack novels was the brilliantly snarky faux Cliffs Notes guide that Spy magazine published in 1989 (not without some controversy). Since then, the novel has become known for reasons other than its alleged greatness, but I’m still open to hearing an argument for it. Unfortunately, Bridges’ book is disappointingly thin on that front. His critical commentaries are brief and, er, bloggy, and for a book that’s allegedly pumping greatness it sure does a soft sell. Story of My Life, I learn, doesn’t have much going on in terms of plot and character, but “is a funny novel, delivered crisply and intelligently.”