review

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

searching-john-hughesThis book didn’t live up to my expectations. I expected the search for John Hughes to be more about Hughes than about the author. I thought it would be more reportage than a memoir, and a pretty harrowing memoir at that. And ultimately I felt disappointed from this turning into a book I wasn’t expecting, and I felt a bit like a gawker at a memoir about a horrible childhood.

Look, I enjoy some meta stories or films, but writing about being stuck is difficult for me to read. Diamond spends so much time establishing why he liked Hughes movies (escapism set in the same neck of the Chicago suburbs as he lived in) and so much time being depressed and trying to write that the arc felt off. There is redemption: he gets mental health treatment, he finds love, he finishes some sort of book, but the actual resolution felt rushed. He never actually meets John Hughes, there is no actual thinkpiece about Hughes buried in this memoir. There are some false starts to a thinkpiece about John Hughes, but not much. It felt short, like the conceit was not that revelatory.

It suffered from the same problem I found in  Middlesex: Diamond, like Eugenides, skipped over the hard parts of grappling with his issues via therapy and medication. How that works, even if idealized or shortened in a novel, would be great.

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

William Morrow, November 2016

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

 

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4 thoughts on “Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

  1. Sorry to hear you were disappointed in this one, Rebecca. I do know what you mean, though, about not getting at all what you expected in a novel. To be frank, it doesn’t sound like one for me.

    1. Thanks, Margot. He’s a good writer, but this particular book didn’t resonate with me. I am reading lots of good Nordic Noir stuff lately that I really like, though, so I’m not really in a slump (Theorin, Asa Larsson). Hope you’re doing well. This non-holiday week is so busy, isn’t it?

    1. I like his shorter pieces too! I think I’m dissatisfied with lots of memoirs because I feel like there are big gaps: I prefer straight-up fiction. Hope you are doing well, Cathy.

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