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Fraud: Essays

de David Rakoff

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1,1761512,153 (3.6)20
A frequent contributor to the New York Times magazine, Outside, Salon, and GQ, and a regular on Public Radio International's "This American Life,"David Rakoff's debut collection of essays is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and take-your-breath-away poignant. David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether he finds himself on assignment climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire ? donning a pair of Timberlands for his trek, only to realize with horror that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in." ? sitting quietly impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window...for a month, or musing on the unique predicament of being undetectably Canadian in New York City ("...what's more spicy than being Canadian, I ask you?"), Rakoff has a gift for exposing life's humour and pathos. Fraud takes us places even we didn't know we wanted to go: expeditions as varied as a search for elves in Iceland, a foray into soap opera acting, or contemplating the gin-soaked olive at the bottom of a martini glass.With the sharpest of eyes, David Rakoff explores the odd and ordinary events of life, spotting what is unique, funny and absurd in the world around him. But for all its razor-sharp wit and snarky humor, Fraud is also, ultimately, an object lesson in not taking life, or oneself, too seriously.From the Trade Paperback edition.… (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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A frequent contributor to the New York Times magazine, Outside, Salon, and GQ, and a regular on Public Radio International's "This American Life,"David Rakoff's debut collection of essays is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and take-your-breath-away poignant. David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether he finds himself on assignment climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire ? donning a pair of Timberlands for his trek, only to realize with horror that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in." ? sitting quietly impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window...for a month, or musing on the unique predicament of being undetectably Canadian in New York City ("...what's more spicy than being Canadian, I ask you?"), Rakoff has a gift for exposing life's humour and pathos. Fraud takes us places even we didn't know we wanted to go: expeditions as varied as a search for elves in Iceland, a foray into soap opera acting, or contemplating the gin-soaked olive at the bottom of a martini glass.With the sharpest of eyes, David Rakoff explores the odd and ordinary events of life, spotting what is unique, funny and absurd in the world around him. But for all its razor-sharp wit and snarky humor, Fraud is also, ultimately, an object lesson in not taking life, or oneself, too seriously.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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