Walter Kirn Kristian Lutze
- Title: Daumenlutscher
- Author: Walter Kirn Kristian Lutze
- ISBN: 9783462029901
- Page: 400
- Format: Paperback
New York magazine s witty, cheeky book critic Walter Kirn rides high in his exhilarating second novel, and so does his protagonist, Minnesota teen dweeb Justin Cobb Justin s hippie dentist may have hypnotized him out of his socially perilous thumbsucking habit, but he can t suppress the boy s oral gift Justin s mouth just won t quit beer, decongestants, nitrous oxide,New York magazine s witty, cheeky book critic Walter Kirn rides high in his exhilarating second novel, and so does his protagonist, Minnesota teen dweeb Justin Cobb Justin s hippie dentist may have hypnotized him out of his socially perilous thumbsucking habit, but he can t suppress the boy s oral gift Justin s mouth just won t quit beer, decongestants, nitrous oxide, cough syrup, Midol, and Ritalin go in, and out spritzes hilarious commentary on his eccentric yet authentic life and times Our hero s mood larks and plunges erratically, but Kirn s prose is alert, artful, under control The debate coach s skin is the neutral hue of turkey meat One of Justin s realistically inconclusive crushes is a redhead with freckles the color of new pennies Her dad is a Limbaughesque columnist who calls welfare recipients food tramps Meanwhile, Justin s dad, Mike, is the F hrer of fly fishing, an ex gridiron hero obsessed with deer hunting and eating He s also prone to spouting his vile old coach s preposterous apothegms Until you re broken, you don t know what you re made of Mike is funny and poignant a tricky note to hit Like a mucked up modern Huck Finn plying his own stream of consciousness, Justin drifts into weird scenes a job at a gas station fated for torching, a visit by his mad Winnebago vagabond grandparents, a kidnapping caper to rescue a pothead infant from sinister hick parents, Grit and Munch Chapter 4, about a Chippewa City debate meet and rather chaste orgy, is dazzling teen satire Not that Thumbsucker is flawless Justin s nurse mom is a vague character, his vivid kid brother is inexplicably ignored, the satire of the Hazelden celeb rehab is lame, and, like Huck s, Justin s adventures sort of peter out instead of leading up to a slam bang finale The family s conversion to Mormonism seems arbitrary, though richly detailed, since Kirn was a small town Mormon kid Flaws, schmaws Thumbsucker is the truest book about adolescence I ve read since This Boy s Life, and Kirn is some kind of comic genius Tim Appelo
Recent Comments "Daumenlutscher"
I have tried to like Walter Kirn time and time again. I feel like I should like him: he is from Minnesota (and frequently sets his novels and other writings there), his writing often is on topics I am interested in and the literary world just seems to love him. However, something about his work just strikes me the wrong way. So I decided I would give his writing one more try with "Thumbsucker". And once again, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). Kirn takes the reader along [...]
I really liked it. It was almost more of a series of vignettes than a novel, but it flowed nicely and was in chronological order.Justin is very likable as a main character, even though he is a jerk sometimes. And, ultimately the book is full of funny descriptions and back-hand comments like: "At fourteen, I had the physique of a sperm: an enormous oval head trailing a skinny, tapering body".I enjoyed Kirn's depictions of the dysfunctional (but still functioning) family: "That was what Mike calle [...]
I was reading this book on the subway one morning and I glanced up at this middle-aged man across from me reading some book by James Patterson. I scoffed at this man because, hey dude, I read literature.But do I? Approximately two hours of almost every day of my life I stand in a subway car as it carts me off to and from a job I hate and another day closer to death, and I spent several of those hours reading a piece of fluff called Thumbsucker that I'm only reading because I found it on the stre [...]
This book was an odd experience for me. He's an excellent writer, and there were some great 80s details. But the book I was reading was not the book Kirn was writing. This became clear toward the end of the book, and led to a certain deflation of my enjoyment. After the first two chapters I saw a beautiful hand-made clock with perfectly interlocking gears and springs. But after Justin's heroic save of his father in the woods, the strange veering into Mormonism, it was like a cuckoo sprang out of [...]
So, so good. Kirn's style is quick and witty, yet beautifully descriptive. I love Justin Cobb, his sarcasm, how he's a total mess. I could relate. Joel's speech at the end struck a chord within me: "He's used up a lot of excuses in his life and he doesn't have many left." This book perfectly captures the pathos of growing up in a small town. It's gritty and realistic, yet ends on a note of adventure, and hope. "The King Kong of oral obsessives," said Perry Lyman. "Hope, my boy. I live in hope. L [...]
I normally detest clever teenagers, probably because I've never known one in real life (not even when I was a teenager - present company included), but I found Kirn's teenage "wisdom" to be palatable, especially since much of it was not wisdom at all but misguided confidence. There is plenty misguidedness in this novel, which is why it's so fun (I had to hold back a lot of public snickering). People who read novels for plots won't like this book. It's a bit fragmented; a bit like three novellas, [...]
a refreshing coming of age story. takes many unexpected twists and turns which seem absurd and sincere all at the same time. the narrator must discover who he is when his habit of thumbsucking is broken through hypnosis when he is 13. without the safety of his thumb, he has a hard time dealing with the craziness that is his family. he tries drugs, gets diagnosed with ADHD, and tries converting to mormonism to fill the gap. sometimes, you just can't deny you are a bit weird and accepting that lea [...]
I read this book in two days. I really liked it, actually. The main character, Justin, is a little annoying at first, but as he approaches every new hobby he tries with vigor, I grew to love him. His father, Mike, also grew on me. At the beginning, he seemed to be an overbearing jock but by the end, I empathized with him.As the title implies, this story is about the life of a thumbsucker. A teenage thumbsucker.I can't wait to see the movie.Overall Grade: 4.75Note: This book was a book I received [...]
It's more like 2 stars for me, but only because the more I read novels about pre-teen or teenage boys, the more I realize that is not the novel for me. However, I can't fault the novel for that, and this is a solid book. If you like Nick Hornsby, you'll like this book. It's funny in quite a few places, sweet in other places, and genuine. It definitely hits that 1980s sweet spot, there is that. Sure, I'm glad I picked it up at the used book store knowing nothing about it.
This is a book that's required for the Adolescent Lit class I'll be taking this semester. I decided to get a head start on the [lengthy] book list, and this one jumped out.Thumbsucker opens with a Sherwood Anderson quote from Winesburg Ohio and I found it fitting, especially for content: the novel reads like a series of related vignettes, and I was fondly reminded of both Winesburg and something more modern, like Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
Mediocre movie but a great book. It is a story of a teenage boy who sucks him thumb but is made to stop and he stumbles through a series of self-destructive behaviours trying to compensate for it as other drama unfolds in his life and family. The movie did away with my favourite of his coping mechanisms, Mormonism. I thought it was compelling and entertaining but then again I like books written for teens that are not too vacuous.
I read this for an online book club I recently joined. In the beginning I did not enjoy it. Everyone was too odd, too dysfunctional for me. But then I started to realize that the beauty of this book is that the main charcter, the narrator, is the most normal in the book and how he reacts to the craziness around him is mature and incredible. While not the greatest book I have ever read, it was not horrible and has sparked some interest and cool discussions in my book club.
It has Mormons, so of course I loved it. Scattershot and brutally honest about Midwestern life. Fantastic, but not exactly a "fun" read
Well done. Reads more like a series of vignettes than a novel, but it's a clever collection full of rich characters.
Things just seemed to happen without much reason.
I saw the movie adaptation years ago - or rather I watched 30 minutes before pulling out the DVD in frustration at the self-conscious quirkiness of it and the black hole of acting that is Keanu Reeves - so imagine my surprise when that weird, plotless mess of a movie actually was adapted from a book. I had to read it, assuming the book was better. Well, it wasn't. Not plotwise anyway. It is not about a thumbsucking addiction. It is a series of events in the life of a teenager in a rather eccentr [...]
I'm not sure where to start. I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. Normally, I feel one way or the other; gushing about what I love and nitpicking about what annoyed me. Not this time or so it seems.This was my first time reading Kirn so I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a well-written, if seemly pointless, novel about nothing and everything. I was never bored or felt like I wouldn't finish the book but I didn't have a problem laying it aside at times either. It did fe [...]
This is a great book, if you are looking for a well written easy read. The story takes place in rural minnesota and revolves around a teenage boy and his family. The characters are well developed, believable and continue to evolve and grow throughout the novel. The father is a back to nature outdoorsman, and former collegiate athlete, who refers to his family as "you people". The main character is an intelligent ADD ridden kid who has problems sucking his thumb, until his dentist hypnotizes him [...]
Justin’s been doing it for years, But its only lately that his dad made a campaign out of it.- to get him to stop. And really the only reason is because of the dental bills. It seems that the thumb sucking has pushed his teeth forward, and the dentist, a bit of a wacko, hypnotizes him to get him to stop. Justin has to admit its better than the awful tasting stuff his dad was putting on his thumb. The hypnosis works… Justin tries to find the comfort, the solace, he once found by sucking his t [...]
This funny and sharp book really intrigued me. This is about a boy who has an obession with sucking his thumb and it was something that "(he) had always done. Even breathing did not go back to the womb." (1) His obsession with sucking his thumb caused him many problems. For example, he got prescribed drugs to stop this habit so "(he) lost desire for food, (his) appetite and it was as if (his) mouth was turning against (him)" (22) This lead him to believe "(he) wasn't in any shape that spring to [...]
An entertaining novel that doesn't quite consistently shine. Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste, but the picaresque characters here tend not to reach any moment of clarity or true conflict. Whatever events happen seem to happen without consequence, and characters by the end of the novel are just the same as they were from the beginning. Kirn has some interesting insights into the quirks of American suburbia--the strangely neurotic power-struggles over the mundane (high school debate teams, [...]
I picked this book at random from the library. It was an interesting novel about one boy being pushed by his parents to over come an obsession with sucking his thumb which had persisted into his early teens. By being ripped from this comfort he went on a frazzled exploration of other obsessions: from drugs to religion. For me it was a sad story (not in very funny at all) that showcased a very sad reality. It was a hamlet like tragedy on small scale when his parents tried to break from him someth [...]
I enjoyed reading this book. The author has a keen eye and talent for description. The book seemed to be well-structured.The book's weakness was in its characters. While they were all well-communicated and identifiable, I didn't really feel what was going on with them. Fun misadventures and all, butIt makes me wonder if creating neurotic characters is any way similar to creating complex and compelling characters. Here, the former seems to be a pretty good way to allow authors leeway in fabricati [...]
This book was nothing like the movie. Believe me, I just rewatched it.This is going to be quick, I don't care: I found the general story interesting and angsty-ish, not quite full-on angsty. I liked Justin a lot though, I felt as if he was one of my close friends. The element of a dysfunctional family was spot-on and the following through, kinda wraparound of the thumbsucking was well-developed. Towards the end, I forgot Justin even sucked his thumb in the first place, but I could see how chaoti [...]
This was an easy read, largely, I think, because Kirn was judicious with his descriptions and dialogue. He didn't use more words than he needed, and that made all the words important. All the miniature stories (the book felt like a collection of stories woven into a narrative) were enjoyable and unique. The story was unpredictable but entirely believable.My only complaint is that we didn't delve more into Mike's story. I have a feeling he was trying to come out of the closet, but couldn't quite [...]
I picked up this book because I had started a different book by same author and left it at friend's house in another state. This book was available at library. I waffled between giving it 3 and 4 stars; while it was always easy to read, it sometimes came across as fragmented and the main character a bit detached. However, the more I got into it, the more I think the scatter and detachment are intentional writing styles to reflect and indirectly develop the main character. The unexpected last chu [...]
This book was totally not what I expected. I thought it would be the teenager's struggle with sucking his thumb, keeping it secret from his classmates and friends, something like that. The thumbsucking was really a minor part of the story. The family dynamics were the focus. And what a messed up family it is! The characters were very convincing, and sounded like people that I might know! They sounded like people that might be in my family. I couldn't put this book down. I definitely recommend it [...]
I know that I found this to be a very fast and easy read. And I know that it struck me as a little disjointed.Otherwise, I am still assessing my reactions to the book and wavered between giving it two stars or four stars (ultimately, settling on the compromise of three stars). Without being able to pinpoint exactly why, I could not escape into the book -- that is, I was always very conscious that I was reading a novel -- and its artistry/craftsmanship (while still good) was not overwhelming enou [...]
I often buy books by their cover – they usually have weird and unique plot lines. This book, Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn, was one of those buys and it was a weird read. I honestly can’t decide if I liked or hated it. OK, I didn’t hate it but I guess I wished I had liked it better. It was an easy ready though and maybe I had a lukewarm response because of the character, not the story. An independent movie has been made based on the book and it is in my NetFlix queue. I will be curious to see [...]
This is the often cringe-worthy tale of a teen-aged boy who gives up thumbsucking, only to move on to other fixations sex, drugs, and religion all play a part in his story.Told in a wry voice, the book explores his strange world and eccentric family. I found some chapters to be crossing the line between humor and (almost) horror but I think that's part of the nature of this book - getting you to react by pushing you a bit too far, whether through humor or unease.Mostly funny, at times poignant. [...]
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