Eeeee Eee Eeee by Tao Lin
Final Verdict: 3.25 out of 4.0
4 – Plot/Story is interesting/believable and impactful
The title of this novel, Eeeee Eee Eeee, should be enough to tip off the reader that the book is going to be, well, a bit odd. And it is. While many aspects of the book are entirely believable – even to the point of being mundanely typical- some elements are just, well, completely inexplicable. Still, Tao Lin leaves no room for doubt in these bizarre situations, so the reader must push forward, accept what is happening (like talking bears with depression, and homicidal dolphin philosophers, for example), and try to wade through the nonsense to get the picture being presented, which is one of hopelessness and lethargy. This book is a scathing, though creative, argument against American capitalism, which Lin seems to believe has been a creative and moral leech on society and progress.
2 – Characters slightly developed.
The main character, Andrew, is a depressed, socially awkward, slightly delusional twenty-year-old pizza delivery man, with an obsession for a girl who may or may not exist. The reader must wonder whether or not he is just weird, or if he might be suffering from some serious acid-trips gone wrong, considering the amount of time he spends talking to humanoid animals – most of which are just as depressed, sad, and bizarre as Andrew is himself. His friend, Steve, and Steve’s family are equally weird, though not so strange as Andrew (one can imagine that the other characters, though just as lazy, could possibly succeed at something whereas Andrew will surely never amount to anything). There is little depth to any of the characters, and absolutely no growth for any. Some of the most interesting characters are the ones who are not real – the dolphins, bears, gerbils, etc. who have human-like qualities and often communicate with Andrew in some way (taking him in on strange, Labyrinth-like journeys to hidden, underground worlds). There is also a strange and funny meeting with the United States President (Bush?), an alien, the animals, and Andrew, near the end of the book. The bottom line seems to be that there is no point to anything, and no happiness or purpose to be found anywhere.
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.
Lin’s prose is certainly engaging – playful but serious at the same time. He moves the story forward at a great pace, and his descriptions are simple but well-wrought. The language is simple, too, but not in a dumb-down sort of way.
Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.
What is most impressive about the novel is its purpose. I am not head-over-heels about the delivery or the plot/story itself, but its intent – the passion and beliefs behind it- are well-received, important, and thought-provoking. What is happening to America’s youth and the American dream? Children stay children younger – dependent on their parents and families for years after college, in many cases; and yet, children are also forced to grow up so fast – exposed to adult themes and moral situations at younger and younger ages. The result: Loneliness, despair, a sense of disconnect from the world, and a total loss for meaning and purpose in life. We live in a world and culture which measures success by how much someone can afford – how big is your house? How many cars do you own, and how much did they cost? How much energy can you waste? How long can you live at home, avoiding things like responsibility, building a career, starting a family? What happened to accountability, hard work, and valued achievements?
Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: Adult
Interest: Angst, Depression, anti-Capitalism, America, Despair, Philosophy, Culture
“A world without right or wrong was a world that did not want itself, anything other than itself, or anything not those two things, but that still wanted something. A world without right or wrong invited you over, complained about you, and gave you cookies. Don’t leave, it said, and gave you a vegan cookie. It avoided eye contact, but touched your knee sometimes. It was the world without right or wrong. It didn’t have any meaning. It just wanted a little meaning.”
“He used to think things like, This organic soymilk will make me healthy and that’ll make my brain work better and that’ll improve my writing. Also things like, The less I eat the less money I spend on publicly owned companies the less pain and suffering will exist in the world. Now he thinks things like, It is impossible to be happy. Why would anyone think that?”