Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
This is a book about a stock broker. Rather about two stock brokers, one current and one has-been; a she and a he broker. However, this is not a book about the Stock Market per se, neither is this a book about love, nor sleaze.

The book is written in a diary format, with time progressing linearly, with each entry marked with a day and time. The entire book, as advertised, is over in about the time-span of a long weekend.

Each entry in the diary begins off-topic and slowly careens into the old story line: sometimes in enlightening and sometimes in ridiculous ways. It probably reflects how a stock broker thinks when she is not thinking about the stock market. The book is sort of a drag in the beginning, until one gets to the evening of Friday and something of interest happens.

The protagonist, whose diary the book purportedly is, is quite a regular character. She is surprisingly innocent for an 29 year old living the almost high life in Seattle. There is a frail attempt at establishing her shrewdness at points in the book, but they fail to do it. I dare say that it is on purpose, perhaps Robbins has tried to show how one would feel on the most bizarre weekend of one's life; while one is contemplating whether this is the worst time in her life:

The worst day? Gwendolyn, you are forgetting, perhaps, that day - was it eight years ago? - when in the same mail you received notice that you had been rejected for graduate study at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, in the same morning's mail, turned down by all of your top choices, and you a female member of an ethnic minority at a time when institutions, in a befuddled, heavy-handed attempt to compensate for past injustices and in an almost panic-stricken scurry to be perceived a sociologically correct, were falling all over them-selves to add persons of your description to their folds.
[and worse days]

Ouch. That must have hurt.

Finally, the book does have a touch of surrealism about it. As I mentioned before, the protagonist always seems to be a tad bit distracted, not asking, not even thinking about the right questions, like how can one read someone's mind, why Timbuktu, why Frogs, etc. until too late.

It is covered up rather well by the thin planning ongoing in her mind, the happenstances, light humor and slight sleaze.

Hence, I would say that it is not the regular run-of-the-mill book about stock-market and is not a bad read if you have few better things to do/you are in a pinch.

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