Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Ivy League Education Gone to Waste

There's a small selection of English language books in the lounge at work, and I picked up The Rule of Four the other day. I recalled reading a -- mostly positive -- review of the book when it came out, describing it as a Da Vinci Code-ish novel (although I haven't read The Da Vinci Code), an academic mystery / suspense set at Princeton University, written by two Princeton grads as a way to keep in touch after graduation (which I thought totally dorky, but maybe a little cute).

You know those guys that you went to college with, who were maybe a little too articulate for their own good and who were super-excited to be at "X" institution and could enumerate the reasons why, but only in the most intellectually superficial way? (Yeah, douchebag, Schroedinger's cat is awesome.) Yeah, the book is written by those guys. I hate those guys. And while, clearly, people who I might not like if I knew them in person can write some really good stuff (for one, I'm pretty sure that Dave Eggers is the guy at the bar who won't shut up about 'how awesome would it be if we ...?'), these aren't those guys.

The book is clubby, pretentious, exceptionalist, shallow, and romantic about life and love in the self-absorbed way that must seem very profound and gratifying for a couple of Princeton guys with not many female friends, but that no one over the age of 24 should be. In short, everything I always assumed about Princeton students but never had proof of. Before. Also, the mystery isn't very interesting.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Ha! I had been vaguely interested in reading this one, also after seeing a positive-ish review somewhere. There is a certain level of pretentious wankery I'm willing to tolerate if there are other redeeming aspects (e.g. exciting plot)... especially if I'm trapped on a long airplane flight, or something. But maybe this doesn't even rise to that level?

Jackie said...

Tim - I can't deny that I read the whole book, so as a time-killer it's functional. But I'd shudder to think that anybody spend money on the book: not only does it unjustifiably enrich the authors, it'll only encourage them to write again.