The Boomer Hardcover – May 9 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Tracing the life of his protagonist, identified as "the boomer," from birth to death in childlike, "see Spot run" prose, Vintage Books editor-in-chief Asher delivers a spare outline of one man's life, which nevertheless manages to capture many boomer-generation milestones and anxieties with winning pathos. Divided into 100 paragraph-long chapters, the book is illustrated with clever clip art and '50s-style graphics that counterpoint the events experienced by the unnamed boomer. The facile childhood chapters describe school, vacation, homelife and even the boy's favorite lunch. But soon, with adolescence, the boomer's world becomes more complicated, and the rudimentary prose takes on a more satiric note. Leaving his unhappy family for college, the boomer enjoys sex, drugs and independence. Then simple pleasures soon give way to the responsibilities of adult life: "The boomer graduated with honors. He got a good job in a large company. He rented a small walk-up apartment. A woman gave him a cat." The boomer eventually marries this woman, and when she has a son, he decides to love his wife. The family accumulates material goods, and acquires a soon to be beloved dog, as the boomer gets steadily promoted at his job. The boomer's son goes to college and tells his father that he's gay, the dog dies, the boomer enters a serious depression and gets into a car accident. Life is not quite the same after that, and the confused boomer moves in with another woman during his midlife crisis. The narrative maintains its deadpan tone throughout, summarily stylizing the character's life into flat, expository pantomime, but the implications are unmistakable. The boomer emerges as a sympathetic character who lived through '50s conformism, late-'60s rebellion, '70s aimlessness, '80s consumerism and beyond, and his death has full emotional impact. Asher's protagonist is sure to remind America's largest demographic of someone they know very well. Illus. from the CSA Archives, augmented by Chip Kidd. QPB alternate. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The editor-in-chief of Vintage Books takes on the baby boomers as they drift to the far reaches of middle age.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is really about all of us, however. And how we always have been. In the end Asher's Boomer, while the details of his life are different, reminds one of Hawthorne's wayward Puritans, Sloan Wilson's "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and today's Microserfs. Asher pulls it off in an amazing economy of words, almost conversationally, as if someone asked, "What was your father like?"
Buy this book, read it and circulate it among your friends. You'll think about it and carry it around in your mind a few days and hopefully it will sink in.
And it IS worth buying for the pictures!
After I read his book clandestinely in the back of a bookstore, he came to Powell's Books in Portland, OR. I went to the reading to meet the man. He took the time to talk to me after the reading and when I mentioned jokingly that I would love to buy his book, but that I was too poor(which is completely true- I'm a starving student), he BOUGHT ME THE BOOK! Yes, it is true, the man took money from his own pocket so that I, a complete stranger, could have his book. If that doesn't say something about the man's character, I'm not sure what could.
The Boomer is a short book written with few words and meaningful illustrations that had me sitting up and saying WOW! As a child of the 60's and baby boomer who walked on many protest lines throughout the years, the book at times made me sad to think of what happened to many of us as life caught up with us and sadly interfered. In a most clever manner, The Boomer, asks us to evaluate what went right or what went wrong. I did find that at the end there was a general feeling of sadness as to some of the things which may be passing by my generation today but if this was the point of the read, then Mr. Asher has done a fine job. And more important, The Boomer made me sit up and think about the direction of my life.
I did enjoy this book and do recommend it. I also hope that it will not only appeal to the baby boomers among us but also to older and younger people as well.
I can't articulate a rating for The Boomer. Three stars is an arbitrary selection. It affected me -- it wounded my interior. I see my father in it, and I know that he would see himself, and yet he has never cautioned me (as the book does not caution) against absorbing the disconnective malaise of his life. Sending him this book would be an act of terrorism.
On the subway ride home: how easy it was to read something so hard.
Most recent customer reviews
The Boomer is the story of the everyman, living an ordinary (if empty) American life. In 101 concise Zen-like paragraphs, punctuated with kitschy illustrations, Marty Asher forces... Read morePublished on March 5 2004 by Timothy Walker
A good book but you'll feel like sticking your head in an oven after reading it. I found it looking for all the books in my local library in the category "Experimental Fiction. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2002 by Mott Given
I saw this book in Tower Records and Books and picked it up. It was so small that it struck me as interesting. Well, I read it in about 10 minutes in the book section. Read morePublished on June 10 2000
Something about this book is chilling, haunting, funny, sarcastic, surreal and enlightning. Here is this book that seems to put the american dream on trial. Read morePublished on June 3 2000 by Ghost in the Matrix
How can a novel titled "The Boomer" purport any mimetical validity when it totally ignores the once-daunting spectre of Vietnam, a defining shadow that fell in some way... Read morePublished on May 24 2000
Asher does it again. In 30 minutes, he took me up to the mirror, showed me where I came from, where I am, and where my life would probably go. Read morePublished on May 19 2000 by Allen Hollander