It was sitting stately, front and center in the window display of Forever Books on State Street in St. Joseph, Michigan (perhaps because a novel by Foer was destined to be featured in Forever) but I dare not enter the store lest I be late for the opening of our VHG meeting in Saint Joe and besides I had taken along enough reading for the plane ride to and from New Jersey and early morning rises in between … but the book continued to beckon.
Normally a strong supporter of small, independent community bookstores like Forever, I felt a pang of guilt as I went online that night to bn.com and found that the book was not only 39% off the price that it was in the store (not sufficient reason to buy it online), but that a signed copy of Here I Am . So there I was, executing the clicks that would have it in my office upon arrival back to New Jersey.
I’m only 71 pages into this 571 page book after my morning read at Starbucks, but I can already commend it to you despite the semicolonic smorgasbord that drags out its opening paragraph in the course of introducing Issac Bloch, the patriarch of the family featured in Foer’s novel (alliteration unintended).
The opening pages of what will turn out to be a good read often proves to be the visual analog of a memorable guitar riff. Sure, there are the occasional clunkers where things go downhill after a promising start. But Foer is so adept in developing his characters and their themes early on that I’ll stick my neck out and anticipate you’ll thank me for ordering your own autographed copy. Or better yet, if you’re near a community bookstore go in and browse a copy and then purchase it there. You might help assuage my guilt a little bit, a Philip-Roth-ian theme that Portnoyingly pops up (alliteration intended) in the book’s opening pages.