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Fraud: Essays

de David Rakoff

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1,2281513,521 (3.62)19
From This American Life alum David Rakoff comes a hilarious collection that single-handedly raises self-deprecation to an art form. Whether impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window during the holidays, climbing an icy mountain in cheap loafers, or learning primitive survival skills in the wilds of New Jersey, Rakoff clearly demonstrates how he doesn't belong-nor does he try to. In his debut collection of essays, Rakoff uses his razor-sharp wit and snarky humor to deliver a barrage of damaging blows that, more often than not, land squarely on his own jaw-hilariously satirizing the writer, not the subject. Joining the wry and the heartfelt, Fraud offers an object lesson in not taking life, or ourselves, too seriously.… (més)
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This is much better on the second reading, especially now that David Sedaris no longer inhabits the comedic land he used to dominate. Rakoff is a frequent contributor to NPR's "This American Life". He's an actor, a writer, and a gay man. Yet, in a recent testosterone contest -- the staff and host of "T.A.L." all had their testosterone levels measured -- he outperformed the second highest T-level guy by more than double! (True fact. Google it if you don't believe me.) In fact, the one sports-playing, jock guy on staff scored lowest in his T-levels. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Generally amusing - the Tom Brown Jr camp essay was particularly interesting to me, as was the Freud-in-the-window experiment. Rakoff's essays mostly struck me as too self-serious to be really funny, but he's clearly very sharp and a good writer. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
The essay on Steuben seagull leading a spirituality retreat at Omega House is to die for. If you like David Rakoff on "This American Life" you will not be disappointed by this funny collection. ( )
  kishields | Oct 16, 2011 |
I have enjoyed David Rakoff's essay on PRI's "This American Life" for years, so I was quite excited to read this book of essays. The first several essays were quite light and clever, with just a hint of darkness...classic Rakoff. As I read on, however, the essays lacked any hint of snarky and, well, just wern't funny. Now, this might have been by design. Mr. Rakoff is not David Sedaris (although on the radio they have very similar voices) and his goal is not to make us laugh. Perhaps, he intended to ease the reader in with the lightness and once we were hooked, bring on the deep. And this is not to say that they were not well written, just not exactly what I signed up for. I don't know if I will read him again...might just stick with listening to him on "TAL". ( )
  auntangi | Nov 11, 2010 |
I read this book hoping it would be like a David Sedaris book. Silly me. No one is like David Sedaris! I still really liked the book and will probably read another one by Rakoff. I feel a little smarter after reading this book. I look up words I'm not sure of when I read and I lost count of how many I had to look up in Fraud! It was like he was writing with a thesaurus in hand. ( )
  sweans | Oct 27, 2010 |
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You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent. --Addison DeWitt
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for Simon Sutcliffe and Del Gordon and My Family
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I do not go outdoors.
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From This American Life alum David Rakoff comes a hilarious collection that single-handedly raises self-deprecation to an art form. Whether impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window during the holidays, climbing an icy mountain in cheap loafers, or learning primitive survival skills in the wilds of New Jersey, Rakoff clearly demonstrates how he doesn't belong-nor does he try to. In his debut collection of essays, Rakoff uses his razor-sharp wit and snarky humor to deliver a barrage of damaging blows that, more often than not, land squarely on his own jaw-hilariously satirizing the writer, not the subject. Joining the wry and the heartfelt, Fraud offers an object lesson in not taking life, or ourselves, too seriously.

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