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Topeka School
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
12 posts | 17 read | 26 to read
From the award-winning author of 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station, a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New RightAdam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of '97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting "lost boys" to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart--who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father's patient--into the social scene, to disastrous effect.Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane's reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan's marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.
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review
MrsV
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
Bailedbailed

After 60ish pages, this just isn‘t grabbing my attention. Going to have to bail on it, at least for now.

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Cinfhen
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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After 5 hours of audio time and another 5 hours left I‘m calling quits on this book. I‘m just not enjoying it enough to give it any more time.

Jas16 You got a lot further than I did before I bailed! 2y
Cinfhen It just started to feel like a real effort @Jas16 but I was enjoying the multi cast narration 2y
Jennifer3 I seriously suck at bailing on stuff I don‘t like...it seems a feel compelled to try to finish. I need to find a way to not be bothered by bailing on books that don‘t feed my ❤️ of books and reading! 2y
See All 10 Comments
Cinfhen #AllHailTheBail @Jennifer3 letting a book go that you‘re not enjoying is actually super uplifting and freeing!!! It‘s a little gift to yourself!! Reading should never feel like a chore or a failure if it‘s not working. I reason I could always try again😜 2y
Jennifer3 @Cinfhen I need to try! I have been trying to finished Educated by Tara Westover because so many rave about it. However, I just haven‘t enjoyed it but my social work is a lot about having terrible life experiences and maybe it is too close to that. 2y
Cinfhen If it makes you feel better @Jennifer3 I found Educated totally overrated! And yes, sometimes it‘s hard to read something too close to real life. Maybe put it aside for now and pick up something lite. 2y
Megabooks Sorry this was a bust! I hope you‘ll still allow me to be your #audioguru! 💕💕 2y
KarenUK @Cinfhen @jennifer3 I thought Educated was overrated too! 🤷‍♀️ 2y
Cinfhen Always @Megabooks it was more in the storyline than the audio that had me losing interest 2y
Jennifer3 @KarenUK I am glad I am not the only one!! 2y
73 likes10 comments
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Cinfhen
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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I‘m not sure this book would work for me in print but on audio it‘s not bad🤓 I‘ve done some audio baking and cooking so that‘s a plus😊

Caroline2 Yums 😋 2y
Cinfhen They don‘t taste right @Caroline2 the consistency is off 😩 2y
Caroline2 @Cinfhen blast!!! Its so annoying when that happens. 🙄 2y
BarbaraBB I‘m looking forward to it since @Megabooks recommended it and I loved his 2y
89 likes4 comments
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canbku
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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Mehso-so

This was ok overall. Lots of parts were great. It skips around a lot in narrator and timeline which idyllic doesn't bother me, but this time it took me a while to keep everything straight. The effort to describe and condemn toxic masculinity was welcome and interesting, but I thought it was a little obvious sometimes. I also loved the very specific place names, being from #LFK

canbku Oh, and it was my July #bookspin! @TheAromaofBooks 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
betsyhaddox Too bad about the obviousness of some of those gender issues. That can really dampen a book for me, too. Thanks for the review! 2y
canbku @betsyhaddox I really do recommend it for those moments because they are rare enough, but they sometimes sounded like they were almost a different voice from the person. The narrative was tough, though, because everything is recounted as though they are imperfect memories and they change as they get older... Never necessarily acknowledging their flaws but growing out of them when new life experiences change them 2y
52 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Eva_B
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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Mehso-so

The writing was good. I felt compelled to finish this book but I didn‘t love it. I spent most of my time reading it trying to remember why I added it to my ‘To Read‘ list in the first place. I got to the end and still couldn‘t remember. I‘m sorry to say I skimmed the debating competition and training scenes. I found them tedious. I found some of the characters interesting though. Apart from that, this book just didn‘t ‘click‘ for me.

8 likes1 stack add
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Coltcraw
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
Pickpick

Enjoyed

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Suet624
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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Bailedbailed

It is extremely rare for me to bail on a book but this was an easy decision. The beginning alone should have warned me: a young man in a rowboat pontificating to a young woman, never realizing the woman has left the boat to swim to shore. I‘ve had enough of those blowhards in my life. 😂😂 Much like the man in the boat, the writing style almost felt like the reader was irrelevant. On the plus side, this was my view when I decided to bail. 😀

AmyG Beautiful snow day! 3y
HardcoverHearts I did this as a buddy read and while it offered so much to talk about, it didn‘t work for me. Believe it or not, I found the beginning of the book the most interesting part... 😳 3y
Suet624 @HardcoverHearts Yes, the beginning was the best part. I continued to read for awhile. 😁 Then I realized I just couldn‘t go on. 3y
See All 15 Comments
HardcoverHearts You are wise! 😉 3y
Cinfhen Gorgeous photo and eloquent bail 😘😘I‘ll be skipping this one #MyBookTwin 👯‍♀️ 3y
Tamra Bailing 👍🏾 3y
Suet624 @Cinfhen I thought of you after I posted the flowered photo. You always have such beautiful flowers in your posts. And seriously, stay away from this one. 😀🥴🤓 3y
Leftcoastzen No shame in bailing, life is too short to power through books that are not speaking to you. 3y
Suet624 @Leftcoastzen Thank you. I think Litsy might be rubbing off on me. I never would have allowed myself to bail in the past, but lots of people do it without a second thought. Also, I'm getting older and I've got to get the good reads in before I kick the bucket! 3y
squirrelbrain I *never* bail on books, but bailed on this one (I had it as an ARC so hadn‘t paid for it luckily). It was just too clever for its own good.... 3y
batsy Ahahaha! I love the bit about having had enough blowhards in one's life. #amen 3y
Suet624 @squirrelbrain perfectly stated. 3y
Suet624 @batsy 🥴😍✊ 3y
arubabookwoman This one seemed to be highly spoken of, but I just bailed on it tonight too. Just couldn‘t get into it. 3y
Reggie There‘s so much buzz about this one but there are also so many bails!!!! 🤔 Nice view! 3y
60 likes1 stack add15 comments
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Kazzie
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
Pickpick

Love most of it! Great insights into 60-80s psychology. A bit disappointed by the ending. But overall great family dynamics

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Mitch
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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50 likes1 stack add
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kbuggle
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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Mehso-so

It took me a while to grasp the time shifts and I‘ll admit I was lost in large parts of this one. But that being said, it might have been a me problem- the writing I enjoyed, and I think I just got twisted up the plot and what period of time we were in now. Overall an interesting read, although at times, confusing.

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nomadreader
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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I feel incredibly lucky to have an early copy of this novel. It's not often a world-class novelist is a year ahead of you in school and writes a novel set in the decade & town in which you both grew up (and it's not NY or LA or London). Yes, we moved around a lot & I claim more than one city in an "it feels like home way," but of all of those, we get what everyone says is a great literary, political, modern historical Topeka novel?!

AmyG I can‘t wait to hear what you think of this. 3y
9 likes1 comment
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AlexGeorge
Topeka School | Ben Lerner
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Pickpick

As smart and stimulating as you would expect from Ben Lerner, who is becoming one of the most interesting writers presently working. Artfully conceived, daringly executed. Read this when it comes out in October!

Bklover Sounds a bit frightening as well 3y
Taylor Can‘t wait for this one. 3y
17 likes2 comments