❴BOOKS❵ ✯ Too Good to Be True Author Benjamin Anastas – Saudionline.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Too Good to Be True

  1. says:

    When Benjamin Anastas tells us that his memoir is about failure, he seems to believe it He flagellates himself for never replicating the success of his first novel He howls at his childish decision to cheat on his wife while on a business trip in Europe He shakes with shame when telling us that he s deep in debt But as Anastas enumerates his sins, he simultaneously forwards a counter narrative He continues to work as a professor and magazine writer He comes clean to his wife, and he blames her flightiness for the end of their marriage His debts are small enough that the income from a fact checking job can pay them down He is, in his telling, a committed and excellent father and boyfriend The terrible failure seems rhetorical than real.

    Too Good To Be True is really about the durability of self delusion Anastas s poverty is one of fancy Brooklyn restaurants, and Apple products, and adjunct professorships He seems to be angry at himself mostly for struggling to maintain a bourgeois New York life without accumulating debt His great humiliation, the moment in which he finally admits defeat and begins his resurrection, comes when he takes a well paying job that he considers beneath his angry intellect If Anastas were self aware this could have been a great book about the emotional and economic unsustainability of a culture in which everyone thinks he should be a star As it is, it s a confessional that mostly feels like a long humble brag.


  2. says:

    I was definitely exposed to too much Fitzgerald at an early age One of the first things I did when I moved to New York after grad school was visit the Scribner building on 5th Avenue and try to summon the ghosts of Fitzgerald and his legendary editor Maxwell Perkins to no avail What pushes Too Good to Be True over the top and makes it than just a precious lament by a writer who made it much further than most ever will, is Mr Anastas s intense and timely writing about money More specifically, his writing about what it is like to have almost none at all and to be vertiginously in debt Well well WELL I believe I found The Nominee with the gaze of a rigorous formalist in the tradition of B.S Johnson, William Gaddis, Robert Coover, and Alain Robbe Grillet I got that from Wikipedia nice entry google william gaddis robert coover alain robbe grillet First hit His first published novel, Sound on Sound 1995 , draws upon innovations pioneered in the work of his father, but also contains echoes of many other modernist and postmodernist writers, including Robert Coover, William Faulkner, William Gaddis, B S Johnson, and Alain Robbe Grillet A rigorously formal book, it is structured And, Trance.was named a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction And, lessee..I bet this is the picture Soon after that you posed for a publicity photo in my old bedroom You know the one You re standing by the window barefoot In a T shirt and jeans Books everywhere It s a nice picture The light is flattering ETA But the Mets, you said in your expansive mode, are a team strangely inclined to fatalism Yup, that s Sorrentino it s a straight quote from Believeniks I mean, unless it s Jonathan Lethem, but I doubt it Altho Lethem lived in Brooklyn too Hmmm The timing doesn t fit for the kid or the not winning the award, tho.


  3. says:

    Suppose that you are a fairly young writer who has attained an enviable degree of success, with a couple of published books and some connections with major literary magazines listed on your CV But then your life starts falling apart You go broke, you have an ill considered affair that once confessed causes your pregnant wife to have one of her own and leave you you suffer from writer s block What will be your Act II It s obvious, isn t it You write about yourself After all, this is the Facebook Era enough about you, let s talk about me Essentially, that s Benjamin Anastas approach, except that he manages to secure the benefit of a mainstream publisher rather than Facebook as his literary forum Granted, Anastas prose is usually much better than what one finds in amateur online postings, and he manages to edit his story far astutely than do most contributors to social networking websites But what he gives us in Too Good to Be True is a mercifully short 175 page book that doesn t begin to live up to its critical notices and gushing dust jacket blurbs.Anastas recounts, rather impressionistically, bits and pieces of his recent life s troubles, his dysfunctional family history, and his initial steps toward recovery To his credit, he doesn t wallow in self pity, and he occasionally manages to amuse, but in the end he fails to convey a real sense of affective engagement with his subject a k a himself the words are there, but a convincing depth of feeling is strangely absent Maybe that s a defensive strategy without which Anastas wouldn t have been able to face his own story In any case, the consequence is that the reader or at least this one is reduced to the position of a clinical spectator who can t bring himself to care very much about either the author or his screwed up past If Too Good to Be True were a work of great literary prowess, one might manage to forgive its lack of emotional power But it isn t, so one can t Instead, Anastas only demonstrates that a sincere memoir can be true without being good.


  4. says:

    Why can t you give a book no stars, Goodreads This doesn t deserve any.I hated this book so much I live tweeted my hate reading of it to my friend Lisa I will let the tweets speak for themselves.so I am reading Too Good To Be True Benjaman Anastas and may need you to read and review it I have judgmental opinions.because author is not funny Also you cannot write about knowing what it is like to be really broke and about your iPhone Mac.also my good reads review will include how many times, per page, I thought Get a job Max so far has been 17 I have to go to the coin star with my son to buy coffee and pirates booty, it is humiliating NO YOU DON T It s a hate read.I mean, if you don t have a job why can t you go while kid is at school with custodial parent and how broke can you be if you are still regularly digging up 10 30 in change also, why should we feel bad your wife left you for successful writer when you cheated first there is a 4 page recap of a FB thread that made him feel bad Bc participants who he didn t even know were competent and viewed spare change as windfall, not primary income stream I hate this guy so much.he is now charging 225 couples therapy sessions his wife is already living with someone else.Sometimes he is so broke he can t get lemonade w his pupusas at the Brooklyn fleahe is too broke to buy his girlfriend a nine NINE carat diamond ringafter he moved to the smallest one bedroom apt he had ever seen he spent 90 on a psychic healer 9 page letter to ex wife s new partner he has 60 credit left on a visa so he can afford to take a cab his own life turned into a story that I didn t choose except that it was created by his action inactionoh thank god 170 pages in and he FINALLY got a temp job Like I yelled at him to do for previous 169 pages.


  5. says:

    Here s the thing about literary failure if it s real, we would never know No misses the middling literary novel, or even the masterpiece, that was never written or never published By definition.I speak from bitter experience.Okay, having gotten that off my chest, I can say that Too Good To Be True is as compelling an account of literary, personal, and financial failure as you can read, short of F Scott Fitzgerald s celebrated essay, The Crack Up, which author Benjamin Anastas quite deliberately cites.Anastas s sins are venal, not mortal, but he pays the price anyway Writes a novel he doesn t believe in Publishes a book that doesn t meet expectations Sleeps with someone not his fianc Marries fianc anyway with predictable consequences Falls into serious credit card debt, and in scenes that every reviewer has cited, is reduced to using Coinstar to process enough spare change to feed his son on visitation days.Whatever his previous literary failures, Anastas is a terrific writer, and many of the scenes of his traumatic childhood and adult crises are as merciless as a scalpel If you have any interest in the craft of writing or the memoir genre, you will find superlative examples here of how to frame and dramatize the scenes from a life into a compelling narrative.In the end, Anastas begins to dig himself out of his debt trap, find a new love, and most moving of all, writes a passionate redemptive account of his love for his son Bottom line, with this triumphal book and new life, Anastas has achieved literary success after all Not that I m bitter.


  6. says:

    I loved this book for its wisdom about money, about heartbreak, about longing for its honesty Anastas s poverty may not run quite so deep as those who are truly suffering in this country, but I know many of us will recognize ourselves in his struggles, and in the connections he makes to what we learn in childhood A beautiful book.


  7. says:

    Reading this I was reminded of two letters to Sugar featured in Tiny Beautiful Things the one from the young woman who can t move forward because she thinks her student loan debt defines her, and the one from the aspiring writer with the staggering sense of entitlement and the MFA from the prestigious school Cheryl Strayed tells the former to stop sniveling, make a budget, get a job, and to remember how fortunate she is she tells the latter to get over herself I feel kind of hostile towards this book and Mr Anastas, and I don t really want to feel that way or write about that But I am not as generous as Sugar And it s just unseemly, this memoir The shockingly narrow minded obsession with his debts, and his blindness to his sense of entitlement, his less than artful stories about his ex wife The real names of Marina and The Nominee are easy to find with a quick online search, as are their responses to this memoir I have a friends who write seriously and want to publish they use all available time to read and write and ALSO hold down 40 hour week jobs, because they have to pay the bills They wouldn t appreciate learning that it is demeaning or embarrassing to be without a book contract or to be penny pinching, or to be working class, or to take the bus instead of a taxi, or to forgo the latt s and the 9,100 engagement ring and the bed with a headboard, or to live in an affordable city within their means instead of a fashionable Brooklyn neighborhood David Foster Wallace wrote Infinite Jest after a breakup He s presumably no DFW, but I wish Anastas had put this material through a crucible and turned it into fiction I read many memoirs, but sometimes the combination of self aggrandizing retrospection and bald truth telling is just something I don t need to know about I saw Rachel Cusk s reputedly awful divorce memoir on the shelf at library today, and wisely passed it up.


  8. says:

    Something of a disappointment A memoir of a sort of a once successful author who finds himself entering his 40s divorced, broke, and adrift I went into it rooting for him, but I can t say the story he tells is particularly insightful or compelling Anastas is a talented writer, to be sure, but there s not much real effort at self reflection or self awareness evidenced in these pages He confesses to a sin of cheating on his girlfriend later wife , but everything that follows seems to be the result of others inexplicable and, it seems to him, inexcusable behavior Perhaps, but as the book wore on I found myself trusting him less and less I don t want to dismiss the real anxieties and troubles that he found himself in but he lived to published a book about it, and a dash of humor would have helped He traces a central source of his problems to the idea that he lived, from his youth onward, a life that was too good to be true, which left him unprepared for rockier times and unaccountable failure, but that phrase reeks of a particular kind of condescension that surfaces here and there throughout this book, a kind of attitude I might have taken if it had been presented with a little self deprecation and a bit of a laugh rather than with the utter seriousness on display here.


  9. says:

    Haven t read a book this compelling in a long time and I read a lot Writers especially will devour it but I think anyone would love it I bought this on my kindle after I read the favorable review in The New York Times I just had a baby a week ago and went back and forth between staring at my son s face and reading this book was just too compelled to put the book down The writing is beautiful and just excellent, the story of the author s failed marriage and career drives forward with incredible energy and intelligence, and there is so much heart and soul, especially around his son and his childhood Really made me want to read from this author I am going to buy his first novel and I am also going to buy TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE in hardcover because it s the kind of book I know I will want to reread Just loved it and can t recommend it highly enough.


  10. says:

    Most of us open our eyes at some point in our lives and find ourselves in a place we never would have chosen if we d been paying attention along the way a region of unlikeness all the disorienting because we have found it on our own, without anyone else to blame, propelled ourselves right into the maw of it by the force of our own desires So says Benjamin Anastas relatively early on in his beautifully written and emotionally affecting memoir, Too Good to Be True Anastas was an author whose first book, An Underachiever s Diary, received some serious acclaim in the late 1990s, and his follow up novel helped him achieve renown, a goal of his for quite some time Yet the pressure of following up these successes with a third novel seemed nearly impossible to handle, and his life began imploding around him.This book is a first person account about living with the constant anxiety of financial need, the near crushing desire to regain your former sense of security and achievement, the powerful love of a father for his young son, and the need to love and be loved Anastas pulls very few punches in accounting for the events in his life he doesn t sugarcoat his actions or reactions, or his role when circumstances went bad.As he recounts his childhood, raised by a hippie father who believed money was the root of all evil and a mother who struggled with mental illness when he was young, you can see how these events shaped the man he has become You feel the strength of his desire to keep his marriage going even though he and his wife can barely stand one another, you sense his shame and fear about whether or not he ll ever be able to regain his financial footing or avoid having to take his young son to a Coinstar machine to gather enough cash to pay for food , and you understand his hopefulness that he can give his son the love he needs to thrive.Too Good to Be True is than a memoir of self discovery, it s a tale of understanding how you get to a certain point in your life, how much of what has happened to you was truly within your control, and where you can go from this point As someone who has struggled with anxiety about the direction of my own life, I heard Anastas voice and identified with his feelings, his worries, and his thoughts How much of our lives do we write, and how much of them are written for us Benjamin Anastas strives to answer that question, and reading this book, you ll relish how he finds his answers, but also realize that answers often lead to questions Although a little too self deprecating at times, this is a book that packs a punch, one that makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you feel.


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Too Good to Be True download Too Good to Be True , read online Too Good to Be True , kindle ebook Too Good to Be True , Too Good to Be True 456764d3c208 When He Was Three, In The Early S, Benjamin Anastas Found Himself In His Mother S Fringe Therapy Group In Massachusetts, A Sign Around His Neck Too Good To Be True The Phrase Haunted Him Through His Life, Even As He Found The Literary Acclaim He Sought After His Novel, An Underachiever S Diary, Had Made The Smart Set Take Notice Too Good To Be True Is His Deeply Moving Memoir Of Fathers And Sons, Crushing Debt And Infidelity And The First, Cautious Steps Taken Toward Piecing A Life Back Together It Took A Long Time For Me To Admit I Had Failed, Anastas Begins Broke, His Promising Literary Career Evaporated, He S Hounded By Debt Collectors As He Tries To Repair A Life Ripped Apart By The Spectacular Implosion Of His Marriage, Which Ended When His Pregnant Wife Left Him For Another Man Had It All Been Too Good To Be True Anastas S Fierce Love For His Young Son Forces Him To Confront His Own Childhood, Fraught With Mental Illness And Divorce His Father S Disdain For Money Might Have Been In Line With The S Zeitgeist But What Does It Mean When You Re Dumping Change Into A Coinstar Machine, Trying To Scrounge Enough To Buy Your Son A Meal Charged With Rage And Despair, Humor And Hope, This Unforgettable Book Is About Losing One S Way And Finding It Again, And The Redemptive Power Of Art