Monday, April 13, 2009

A Harsh Review of the Worst Book Ever

Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics is the worst book ever. If ever an author wrote a book just to prove to the world that she's smarter (and can try and pose for a more glamorous author photo) than everyone else, this is it. It's everything I don't like about Scott Stapp, Ayn Rand, Susan Jacoby, and Peggy Noonan all rolled into one. The characters are arrogant, hypocritical, disingenuous caricatures of real people, and the book is verbose for verbosity's sake--nearly every paragraph has a citation to some obscure (often non-existent) reference encyclopedia or literary work that does nothing to advance the story. The book is about a smart high school girl (Blue Van Meer) who looks down on everyone else and hangs out with the rich/cool kids who similarly look down on everyone else, including Blue. Then after 400 pages, nothing has happened, so plot devices drop from the sky, main characters turn out to be domestic terrorists, and the book ends with, oh how witty, an exam on the book itself, because Ms. Pessl wants you to think she's smarter than you, so she lies and tells you that all 528 pages of her book were in fact necessary because all along they contained clues about the true outcome of the book, which unintelligent readers like yourself were unable to discern.

F---. You. Marisha. Return to your previous career in finance.


  1. It's actually not that great of a looks like they captured her right as she was about to say something. I am kind of surprised based on your comments on her picture.

  2. Sorry, I should've been clearer. I don't think the photo is great, I think it's weird that she attempted to have such a glamorous author photo.

  3. Ah, I am glad you clarified...I thought your standards were lowering ;)

  4. I will say that I really enjoyed the book, mostly for the fictional intertextuality. The excessive footnote reminded me of my own constant groping for citations in my mind. my reveiw