Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nuclear Age, by Tim O'Brien

Damn. I promised myself that I would not finish any book that I didn't love. Or at least really like. And yet I read this book until the bitter, bitter end, probably because I have loved the other books I've read by this very talented author.

Where I heard about this book: Browsing at the library.

What I thought of this book: Painfully frustrating.

What this book is about: A guy who is deathly afraid of worldwide annihilation via nuclear warhead. It moves back and forth between the present, in which he is digging a bomb shelter, and the past, spanning his childhood and early to mid-adulthood. The protagonist is best described as a passive activist. As a college student at the dawn of the Vietnam war, William makes a stab at goading his oblivious classmates into sharing his terror of the bomb. He is drawn into a group of anti-war activists, who more or less babysit him as he hides out from the draft. The message of this book seemed to me to be this: if you do absolutely nothing in your life, you will get the girl, be richly rewarded financially, and have the complicated aspects of your life seen to by other people. This flies in the face of my experiences thus far!

Reasons I finished this book despite not liking it much
: I really, really like the other books I have read by Tim O'Brien, and I was compelled to find out what happened in the end.

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