Book Review: Eating the Dinosaur

Eating the Dinosaur

Chuck Klosterman

Scribner

256 pages

Every once in awhile, I’m in the mood for a good dose of humor.  I don’t want anything too demanding–just a book that will give me a good laugh and won’t force me to be too involved.  In that respect, Eating the Dinosaur hit the spot for me.  Much like my first foray into Klosterman’s work Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, this is an expostulation on modern day ideas and entertainment.

While not quite as dynamic as his previously mentioned book, Dinosaur explores such topics as the popularity of Abba, the similarities between Kurt Cobain and David Karesh, and why Garth Brooks is no longer relevant.  I would say the back cover would give a better idea:

Q: What is this book about?

A: Well, that’s difficult to say. I haven’t read it yet – I’ve just clicked on it and casually glanced at this webpage. There clearly isn’t a plot. I’ve heard there’s a lot of stuff about time travel in this book, and quite a bit about violence and Garth Brooks and why Germans don’t laugh when they’re inside grocery stores. Ralph Nader and Ralph Sampson play significant roles. I think there are several pages about Rear Window and football and Mad Men and why Rivers Cuomo prefers having sex with Asian women. Supposedly there’s a chapter outlining all the things the Unabomber was right about, but perhaps I’m misinformed.

Q: Is there a larger theme?

A: Oh, something about reality. “What is reality,” maybe? No, that’s not it. Not exactly. I get the sense that most of the core questions dwell on the way media perception constructs a fake reality that ends up becoming more meaningful than whatever actually happened.

Q: Should I read this book?

A: Probably. Do you see a clear relationship between the Branch Davidian disaster and the recording of Nirvana’s In Utero? Does Barack Obama make you want to drink Pepsi? Does ABBA remind you of AC/DC? If so, you probably don’t need to read this book. You probably wrote this book. But I suspect everybody else will totally love it, except for the ones who absolutely hate it.

As always, Klosterman is great at expostulating on pop culture while also keeping it humerous.  There were some sections where I wasn’t privy to whatever he was referencing.  There were also times where the subject matter was just not something I care about.  Despite that, the entire book was interesting to me.  You could never have convinced me beforehand that I would have actually enjoyed a chapter that dealt only with football!  How Klosterman was able to pull that one off (I actually read the entire chapter and wasn’t even counting down the pages to the next chapter), I will never know.  I found out some fun stuff in the process.  For instance, there used to be no such thing as passing the football during a game, which made the game so dangerous that many football-related deaths occured every year around the turn of the twentieth century.

If you enjoyed Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, you should give Dinosaur a try.  I enjoyed the former a bit more, only because I was more connected and familiar with the references in that book.  Otherwise, Dinosaur was on point with its predecessor and involved quite a few laughs along the way!

Other Reviews:

None that I could find!

I borrowed this book from my local library.
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6 Responses

  1. Chuck Klosterman is one of those authors everyone always tells me to read, and I intend to, but I never have. Thanks for reminding me (again!) to pick him up!

  2. Wow I’m not much of a football fan either, but if he can make it interesting well — that’s the mark of a great writer!

  3. I’m going to have to find me a copy. 😀 I enjoyed Cocoa Puffs, although like you said, I didn’t always get what he was talking about!

  4. I’m a shameless self promoter, so here’a link to another review.
    http://pablochiste.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/nineties-nostalgia-eating-the-dinosaur-by-chuck-klosterman/

  5. I enjoyed some of Cocoa Puffs, but I didn’t get all of the references. I’m not sure this is for me.

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