Book Review: You’re Not Much Use to Anyone: a novel by David Shapiro


Review can also be found on Tumblr and Goodreads.

1.5/5 stars

First, I want to make this clear. I do not regularly read memoirs or autobiographies, but the premise of You’re Not Much Use to Anyone was interesting to me. The book is about David Shapiro who created a famous Tumblr called Pitchfork Reviews Reviews. David would write reviews on the music website Pitchfork’s reviews. You’re Not Much Use to Anyone goes through David’s life after graduating from college, gaining a girlfriend, working a job he doesn’t particularly like, writing blog posts, and meeting new people while he lives in New York. What really got my attention was the fact that this was a 20-something year old who doesn’t know what he wants to do now. I can relate.

And that is all I can relate to.I feel weird saying this because David is an actual person, but I did not like David. He seemed pretty narcissistic. He mentioned fixing his hair so many times, it was a little ridiculous. David didn’t really talk about any feelings. This book would be a great example for the Show vs. Tell lesson (or maybe that lesson is only for fiction…but I feel like that’s not the case). The chapters are typically short, some being only a paragraph, which was interesting and would have made it a quick read if I didn’t have such a hard time reading through David’s explanations (again, telling and not showing much).

I found myself wondering about other people in the story: Mike, David’s parents, Emma, and Alexandra. I was especially interested in the relationship between David and his dad. I do not learn much, and I wished I could have read David’s thoughts on his relationship with his father. However, those scenes usually ended with and he hung up the phone and on to the next chapter.

The book is full of references to David’s Tumblr, but there are no examples of his Tumblr posts. I feel that at least one would be nice. I read about him writing them, how and when, how many followers he gets, etc., but I never saw one post which was strange.

I think my main problem with this was his views on Emma and Alexandra. I don’t know if this is how he sees women, but David was constantly thinking that they would sleep with any guy the moment he left them (To clarify, he dated these women at different times.) For example, with Emma he wrote how he didn’t want to visit her while she was in California working at a far for seven months because he would wonder if she was sleeping with the men she worked with. With Alexandra who was going to be gone for only 2 months, he wrote about how she shouldn’t leave him because he wouldn’t have anyone to have sex with. What he doesn’t seem to understand is both of these women were leaving to do something they were passionate about. Emma with the farm and Alexandra with her writing. They would be gone temporarily, and all he thinks about is sex. When Alexandra is gone, he starts thinking of Emma right away, thinking (and definitely wanting) to have sex with her, and Emma was not okay with this new side of him. He doesn’t support his girlfriends or even care about them, and he wonders why the relationships always end.

I became so frustrated with David which made this book so hard to read. Maybe it would have been different if I could have learned more about other people, but I only had the chance to learn about David. The book was difficult but those last 30 or so pages really took the cake.

There is a line in this book that I highlighted and wrote I’m really hoping this will not be how I sum up this book because that’s how I’m feeling right now. Sadly, it is the best way to summarize and I’ll end my review with it. David has just told a story about a vodka commercial to a few people at a party and he gets an awkward silence. Thinking to himself about it he says:

My story didn’t really have a point or a punch line” (6).

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Reading Dates: August 5-17, 2014


2 thoughts on “Book Review: You’re Not Much Use to Anyone: a novel by David Shapiro

  1. Pingback: Book Review | 8-18-2014 Part 2 |

  2. Pingback: The Letter B! | Turn right and straight on 'till morning!

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