Ok, it’s been like 9 months since my last book review, but I have a couple dozen excuses and they are all stacked up in a nice pile on my bathroom floor. You can’t tell me Costco coupon books don’t make a fascinating read, damn your retail prices to hell. Anyhoo, this Bookish Bitchin is a review of Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007) by Virginia-born, Florida-raised, and Brooklyn-based Tao Lin.
I used to see tiny flyers for Eeeee Eee Eeee plastered all over the Union Square stop, and the title made me think: “fun!” or, “rodents!”. I finally got around to reading it, and I’m guessing it’s something people either love or love to hate.
Eeee Eee Eeee follows the protaganist Andrew as he delivers pizzas, dejectedly hangs around his house trying to write, and is visited by bears and dolphins and such. Random public figures like Elijah Wood and the President of the United States make appearances, and bands like The Flaming Lips are referenced. Other than that, there’s not much of a plot thrust; it kinda feels like a stroll through the brain of someone who is exceptionally neurotic and just ingested a fresh batch of pot brownies.
Andrew is exceedingly emotionally fragile, yet nothing about him seems heartfelt. It’s like having a crush on that mysterious brooding kid in school, stumbling upon his diary, and realizing he’s just self-absorbed and pretty fucking boring. Lin also breaks that grade-school rule of “show, don’t tell”….he tells: “Andrew is depressed”. Over and over. The repetition of particular phrases (i.e. “killing rampage”) verged on annoying.
The novel at times seemed lazy, droll, and self-indulgently emo. It’s hard to tell whether Lin’s affect-less style is meant to reflect a particular human condition, or if it’s just a detached, half-assed attempt at prose. Lin could be exercising a radical literary technique, but often it just reads as pretentious and tiresome (which makes sense, given that Lin has been heralded as the golden boy of “Hipster Lit”).
But what Eeeee Eee Eeee does do well is hit on that feeling of loneliness, ennui, and shit being pointless that can creep up on you and ride your ass for days, weeks, years. The plot is aimless, social exchanges uninspired… like life can sometimes feel.
This was the first time I’d read anything by Tao Lin, and when I finished Eeeee Eee Eeee I was all like, “What?” I usually assume that people are smarter than me, and thus Lin probably knows what he’s doing. Maybe I just don’t get it; I’m not “hip with it” or whatever the kids say these days. Was the novel was being deliberately avant-garde or ironic? Maybe this points to the inventiveness and fluidity of Lin’s style?…oh fuck, I dunno, who else has read it?! I feel like I need a support group for this book. Eeeeeeeeee…