Boy, I feel bad for how much pleasure I take from Dwight Garner’s NYTBR takedown of radical-chic scion Chesa Boudin’s book about bumming around South America. But, well, I am an emotionally troubled person who needs to see others taken down a peg. Basically, Garner compares the book to a college entrance essay. The best lines, after the jump:
After he spends time with an elderly woman in Ecuador, he puts the purple ink into his desktop printer and notes that “her eyes and head were full of wisdom acquired from a lifetime in the jungle.”
He goes on to emote, in the same paragraph, about how she had known “shame and betrayal,” “sorrow and loss,” “wealth and pride.” It goes on: “She knew what despair was,” “she knew what gratitude meant.” Please make it stop.
And ouch (but ohhh yes):
Mr. Boudin’s Up With People prose sounds more than anything like a college admissions essay; it perfects that form’s ingratiating, smug but searching tone