Book Review! Fame by Daniel Kehlmann


Read this post to see how many different times I write “I was confused” or some version of that…psst…about 14…

After reading the description on the back of the book, I was puzzled as to why I had put this on my book list because I was really not that intrigued by its description. Despite that, I decided to give this story a chance because at one time I obviously thought it was worth while. I WAS WRONG! Perhaps that’s too harsh/hasty…I will explain.
*Side note: When I read the back of the book again while writing this review, I was really interested in the plot presented, I have no idea why I was against it when I first read it. 

Fame is translated from it’s original German, it’s considered “Central European literature”. There’s 9 stories that weave together, all starting with some random guy whose new cell phone has been programmed with a phone number that already belongs to someone – a famous movie star. His actions in regards to the calls set in motion a butterfly effect that touch the interweaving stories.

TL:DR Version: Confusing as all hell. Meant for readers a billion times more intelligent than myself. I recommend this only because I want someone to explain to me what this book is about. Rating: D (would’ve gone with F, but I feel I’m partially to blame for lack of understanding.)

Full Review
Initial Thoughts:
Ooh technology working against people to create mayhem and chaos! Sounds great, right?! It would be if I could follow the stories!! I like to think I’m smarter than your average bear and interested in concepts/reading materials that cover a wide variety of subjects. I read and enjoy Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Chelsea Handler, etc, and magazines from Glamour to The Hollywood Reporter (a trade magazine for the entertainment industry) to Newsweek…that’s probably enough name dropping, you hopefully get the point. Despite all this tooting my own horn and claims of mental superiority, I could NOT follow this book. A majority of my notes (yes, I take notes while reading a book I’m going to review), are me complaining that I have NO idea what’s going on. I can hardly provide spoilers for this novel because I don’t know how to explain the story. I feel bad reviewing Fame because I feel like in the hands of someone more capable this book would’ve been understandable, and they could give you a full review. However, due to my lack of clarity, I can’t really talk about this book – except to tell you how confused I was by it.

The only character who really made an impression on me was the main character who sets everything in motion, Ebling. He is the biggest POS. Maybe my dislike for him is what made me so unreceptive to the rest of the story. Early in the story as we’re just getting to know him, he starts calling back people that have called for the celebrity. He ends up talking to a man on a suicidal rant, and doesn’t exactly encourage, but certainly doesn’t discourage this character from committing suicide. So on page 15 – I’m already not a fan.

By page 28, I was in a fog. My exact note is “This all better make sense soon. I’m intrigued by how this all relates (maybe I’m missing something?) but I’m not necessarily enjoying the journey – hurry up!”. This book is only 175 pages. If I’m on page 28 and wishing for the book to end…it’s not a good sign. Again on page 65, another note about how deeply confused I am & wishing for the book to end. On page 79, my final note, I talk about one of the specific stories and how confused I am. I cannot begin to explain the specific story to you because as I’m sure you’ve noted…I might have been the tiniest bit lost. Maybe this is what people mean when they say “lost in translation”, maybe there’s some German aspect here that I don’t understand because I’m not familiar with their culture. I poured through this book quickly, desperately wanting to find something to enjoy about it, but my mind was stretched too thin trying to comprehend the material. I implore you, please! Read this book! Then come back here and tell me what the hell it was about.

Rating: D (I would give it an F but there’s some user error here, so the author’s not totally to blame for my inability to comprehend.)

Have you read Fame? What were your thoughts on the book or my review? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to know if I’m alone in these thoughts or not…

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