The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian (1997)


L: 5/10

M: 3/10

Analysis from a collector of false memories:

In a story filled with characters that seem to go out of their way to be unlikable, the nameless protagonist is the most difficult to swallow. Something has to (I guess) be said for the writer’s ability to fuel a story where I wanted none other than an ill fate to fall upon the main character, and really anyone else (my melancholy was widespread on this one). Things continuously tip in favor of Nameless as he falls through life, not caring, especially for anyone or anything. His poorly crafted web of lies predictably comes tumbling down on his head as he, for lack of better words, fucks up. His fate gets wrapped up with a nice tidy bow all in one paragraph, and the book is over with a wet thud. Now while I genuinely enjoy a nihilistic tale of troubled youth, as Bret Easton Ellis often constructs, nothing here gripped me or made any turns of the page really stick with me. It was a quick read if nothing else, and nothing else really is worth noting.

Analysis from a jaded Netflix binger:

This book could not have been more appropriately titled. While I would normally describe it as an easy read due to the short chapters and general quick-paced nature of the story, it is an infuriatingly difficult book to work through. With the main character that you never care enough to root for and who’s own idiocy and narcissism lead him into one terrible situation after the next, the reader seems to just be left to endure each episode. Dumb luck plays a major role in the book, and I would say is probably the leading character through much of the story. This only adds to the reader’s frustration at how everything always seems to work out for the aptly named fuck up. In keeping with a growing trend in recent books I’ve read, the story seems to be finished up quickly in the last few chapters, and though it has a melancholy cloud lingering, there is still the Disney themed happily ever after chorus fading out at the end. All in all, the book felt like watching the life of someone you resent destroying their lives and the lives of people around them only to have never really learned one lesson from it and end up being fine in the end. It reads as unjust and fruitless in its entirety.

arthur nersesian 01.jpg
Arthur Nersesian

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