Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You're Not Much Use to Anyone - Book Review

Published July 2014
You're Not Much Use to Anyone - David Shapiro A-
A Blogger's Life in New York

David Shapiro's semi-autobiographical novel, You're Not Much Use to Anyone, is like a big screen version of Seinfeld directed by Woody Allen with music by Belle and Sebastian. David Shapiro first gained national attention for starting a blog called "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews." In his novel, the fictional character (also named David) gained national attention for starting a blog called "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews." I like this novel because it's about subjects I'm interested in (blogging and music) and it reminds me of things I love (Seinfeld and Woody Allen). But, the fact that it's based on the author's real life/real events is intriguing. It motivated me to dig deeper after finishing the book. The more I learned about the real David Shapiro, the more I admired the novel. In a Vice interview last year Shapiro admits, "I feel guilty about a lot of stuff because I don't act in a way that's considerate of other people all the time. A friend who a character is based on said I didn't sign up for this, meaning she didn't ask to be the basis for a fictional character who does things she didn't do. And I wonder how I would feel if someone were to write about me in the way that I did about other people."

In the "fictional" story, David is fresh out of college and wondering what to do next. He gets a crappy office job to appease his parents. He meets a girl, he loses a girl, he meets another girl. He starts "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews" via his Blackberry. Not much else happens, but it's the way those things unfolded that made Shapiro's You're Not Much Use to Anyone engrossing. This novel won't blow anyone away. It's a quick and uncomplicated read about a small window of time in a young man's life- a niche novel, or dare I say a guilty pleasure. And I suspect that the David character might drive many readers crazy. He's whiny, self-involved, and annoyingly smart- the kind of guy who could have it all, but he's too blinded by insecurity and lacks enough life experience to embrace the possibilities. 

Recommended to music geeks who read Pitchfork and those who think life/love is a mixtape.

Check out the entire Vice interview by Zach Sokol below

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