Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan (2011)

I got this book off an internet list somewhere or the other; something like The Best Essayists Out There. I like essays. A book of them is cool beans.  A whole book of them, however, is like a book of short stories.  Some are good.  Some are so-so.  Some I read the first couple of sentences and shook my head and went on.

The one that stands out the most, several days away from finishing it, was the piece on Axl Rose.  I also liked the piece of "Unnamed Caves" about early Native Americans and how little we know about them, much of it from the robbers of their graves.  "My Lytle" was good too, although I had to go back and refresh myself.

I've read some other reviews that liked his piece on the Tea Party - I thought it was okay.  "Violence of the Lambs" wasn't for me.  I didn't get it.

PulpheadPulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sullivan is a strong and interesting writer, and he's flung together some of his essays in what's essentially a fishing game at the carnival.  Cast your line, and you may get a gold ring, or you may get nothing.  A few of the essay are gold - I particularly liked the essay on Axl Rose, which took me back to high school for a bit; the essay on early Native Americans and how little we know about them, save through the robbers of their graves, was fascinating too.  Some of the essays I read a couple of sentences and thought "nah."  His piece of the Tea Party was good too.

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