A collection of essays by a frequent contributor to This American Life, Details, Esquire, and more.
I had enjoyed Rakoff’s first book, called Fraud, and found Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems to be just as engaging and well-written, if lacking the same cohesiveness as the first. Rakoff is bewildered by the sheer plenty available in America, and how that plenitude has still failed to make us happy or satisfied. There are echoes of Walker Percy in his metaphysical ramblings. My favorite essays covered his visits to plastic surgeons to see what they’d recommend he should get done if given carte blanche, and his experience with a 14-day cleansing fast. During the latter, he encountered a homeless woman on the subway asking for “spare food” instead of the usual spare change, and he was struck by the absurdity of the question, as he’d eaten nothing but broth for over a week at that point. It’s a fast read with great turns of phrase, and gave me a lot to chew on (unless I decide to go on that fast myself).