2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Andrew Alsup’s book There and Back There Again is a blog-style compilation of short writings detailing Alsup’s activities, interests, and struggles in his daily life. The first half of the book discusses the idea that Alsup may have some sort of psychic ability that may stem from a brain injury. Because of this, he believes he is being psychically harassed and attacked by what he terms “Chipmunk”, or voices he hears which may or may not originate from real people. Alsup is also incensed that his privacy is being violated, and has suggested a new privacy amendment to the United States’ Constitution. The last half of the book discusses various topics, including art, religion, and sexuality.
I found this book extremely difficult to read because of the style of writing. The book is filled with one-sentence paragraphs, run-on sentences, choppy sentences, and pronouns. It is also aggressive in nature, and swearing is a frequent occurrence. I had a difficult time following Alsup’s thought process because he jumps from one thought to the next without any type of transition. Alsup also frequently used the pronouns “they” and “you”, which added to the confusion.
As for the narrative itself, it seemed as though Alsup contradicted himself throughout the book. For instance, when speaking about his legal issues, Alsup first claimed to not have a lawyer. However, in the next paragraph, he claimed to have one. I became confused as to what was really happening. Was he trying to outsmart “Chipmunk”, or the reader? Contradictions like this add to the confusion of the structure of the book as a whole. In addition, the narrative is redundant. Alsup’s arguments run in a circle, and at the end of the first half of the book, I felt as though nothing had been accomplished.
That being said, I got a unique glimpse into the human mind that not all books can give. This was because of the writing style. As confusing at the book is, Alsup’s narrative is honest and does not hold back. This is unfiltered personal conflict and how one copes with such conflict. For that reason, I can appreciate the courage it took to write this book. In addition, in the last half of the book, Alsup’s comments on Edgar Allan Poe’s work was truly insightful. I enjoyed reading it.
Overall, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. While I can appreciate the honesty and personal tone of the narrative, I could not get past how difficult this book was to follow successfully. After re-reading whole sections, I still do not believe I fully understand what Alsup was trying to say. If you are looking for raw emotion and courage, you may enjoy this book. However, if you are not a fan of the “stream of consciousness” writing style or are a stickler for grammar, this book may not be for you
There and Back There Again
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Ehartl's review? Post a comment saying so!