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Boomer1

by Daniel Torday

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518400,910 (2.94)2
"Daniel Torday is a two-time National Jewish Book Award recipient and winner of the 2017 Sami Rohr Choice Award for The Last Flight of Poxl West. Torday's work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, The Paris Review Daily, Esquire, The Kenyon Review, and Tin House, and has been honored in both the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. He is the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College."--""Torday is a singular American writer with a big heart and a real love for the world. He has the rare gift for writing dynamic action scenes while being genuinely funny." --George Saunders Bluegrass musician, former journalist and editor, and now PhD in English, Mark Brumfeld has arrived at his thirties with significant debt and no steady prospects. His girlfriend Cassie--a punk bassist in an all-female band, who fled her Midwestern childhood for a new identity--finds work at a "new media" company. When Cassie refuses his marriage proposal, Mark leaves New York and returns to the basement of his childhood home in the Baltimore suburbs. Desperate and humiliated, Mark begins to post a series of online video monologues that critique Baby Boomers and their powerful hold on the job market. But as his videos go viral, and while Cassie starts to build her career, Mark loses control of what he began--with consequences that ensnare them in a matter of national security. Told through the perspectives of Mark, Cassie, and Mark's mother, Julia, a child of the '60s whose life is more conventional than she ever imagined, Boomer1 is timely, suspenseful, and in every line alert to the siren song of endless opportunity that beckons and beguiles all of us."--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Boomer1 by Daniel Torday is a well-written satire about a millennial who inadvertently starts a revolution against baby boomers.

Mark Brumfeld feels like the world should be his oyster yet he has failed to achieve the career goals he set for himself. He's a musician who puts his educational goals first and grows increasingly frustrated when he cannot land a job. Of course it does not help that he is entering the work force in the midst of the fiscal crash but Mark feels like baby boomers should retire so young workers can take their place (!). When he is unceremoniously dumped by his live-in girlfriend, Cassie Black, he eventually moves back in with his parents. Now living in their basement, Mark begins filming anonymous rants against baby boomers that quickly go viral. These videos are co-opted by others who turn it into domestic terrorist organization. Mark's life takes a sharply downward turn after he resumes his friendship with childhood buddy "Costco" Long.

Cassie is from the mid-west and she is thrilled to be out from under her conservative parents' thumb. Unlike Mark, she does not want a traditional life and she is content with the status quo. When he tries to take their relationship in a more serious direction, Cassie quickly runs out on him. Her career takes an unexpectedly upward trajectory through a series of lucky breaks and hard work. Surprisingly happy with her job, Cassie is very much on the periphery of Mark's life but they do have some contact and she is shocked by the direction his life takes.

Boomer1 has an intriguing premise but the pacing is extremely slow. The characters are unlikable, unsympathetic and excessively whiny. There is very little action since readers spend the most of their time inside the various characters' heads (which in all honestly, is a somewhat dreary place to be). The novel is a satire but the depressing storyline makes it difficult to find much to laugh about. Daniel Torday brings the novel to a twist-filled conclusion that is full of surprises. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
This book just wasn't for me - perhaps since I'm not a millenial or a baby boomer - The author does have an excellent writing style -i think its just a matter of some books aren't for some people - I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book.
  debbiebellows | Jun 1, 2019 |
The plot of Boomer1 by Daniel Torday is essentially that what starts as a verbal diatribe gets out of hand. The context is generational stereotypes. I am not the reader for books with a ton of gratuitous curse words, descriptions of sexual encounters, scattered perspectives, and stereotypes magnified to present the worst of what they represents. Sadly, for all these reasons, I am not at all the reader for this book.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/05/boomer1.html

Reviewed for NetGalley. ( )
  njmom3 | May 2, 2019 |
Cassie Black and Mark Brumfeld are two of the three main characters through whom we experience the story in Boomer1. The other is Mark’s mother Julia. All three pursued a musical career and came up short in different ways. Mark dreamed of the academic life, writing articles and teaching, a distinguished professor. Sadly, he was born too late, well after the commodification of higher education that replaced tenured positions with adjunct professors, academic serfs who would earn more as a barista. Cassie played in a band with a woman she loved but when replaced by another, she fell into a convenient musical-hetero affair with Mark, work plus parental approval in one. However, even Mark’s mother could see Julia was attracted to women and she soon was offered a high-paying job fact-checking listicles and such. Julia probably was more successful with her music, joining a band headlined by one of her heroes, but then getting to know your heroes is always disappointing.

Mark’s financial precarity forces him to move home and become the millennial stereotype living in his parents’ basement. He fixates on Cassie, his unrequited love more fierce than his love when they were together. “That was the trouble with having love smeared all over the inside of you . You could wash all you wanted and your fingers were still bound to be greasy.” He cannot get over her. Even more stereotypical he begins ranting on the internet. He calls himself Boomer1 and rants about the Boomers who have the jobs, the money, the power and won’t make way for young people. He has a point.

On my list of Books I Want to Read But Have Not Found the TIme is “A Generation of Sociopaths” by Bruce cannon Gibney. It’s a nonfiction work marshaling the evidence, should we need it, that the Baby Boomer generation has been singularly blessed and singularly selfish, reaping the benefits of post-war civic investment and prosperity and refusing to do for their children and grandchildren what was done for them.

Boomer1 is a difficult book to evaluate. In many ways, it so very banal, but that gives it an authenticity, capturing the boring tedium of their lives. You would think with a whole movement kicked off by Mark’s internet rants, his life would be exciting, but it’s not. He works as a barista and sounds off on the internet. Cassie’s life shrinks as her salary expands. She goes from thinking of writing to fact-checking to listicles to video editing, leaving behind words almost completely. Julia becomes increasing deaf and increasingly tired of her son no matter how much she loves him. It’s all quite ordinary and sad.

But, sometimes Torday so perfectly captures the zeitgeist. For example, Mark becomes captive to the screen. “There was a lot of journalism, a lot of information well packaged, well written, and well researched, that didn’t pass his purview when he had sat at his computer, waiting for social media to tell him what he should read next. Though he had given his twenties over to editing a magazine, somehow he’d now come to prioritize the speed and impermanence of what he saw on his computer, same as everyone else.”

Time and again, Torday wrote something so perfectly beautiful, I paused to just enjoy the words. For example, “The ailanthus trees spilled green oval leaves on the ground like they were undressing, and when Regan didn’t invite Cassie back up to her place, Cassie had no choice but to walk back to her own apartment, feeling jealous at the scantily clad trees the whole way back.” Sometimes Torday’s mordant take on modernity just struck me as perfect, such as when Julia’s husband takes her to a symphony playing the Grateful Dead and she is appalled, as she sees herself among the crowd “of not aging hippies but old people, people who had decades before fought their fights and strove their striving and now were in a position to sit in a concert hall on a Friday night in Baltimore and let the teeth be extracted from the music that mattered to them most…”

This is a strange book. There’s so much to like about the writing, but the story and the characters are not nearly as interesting as the words.

I received an e-galley of Boomer1 from the publisher through NetGalley.

Boomer1 at St. Martin’s Press | Macmillan
Daniel Torday author site

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/9781250191793/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Oct 6, 2018 |
After his career and marriage proposal go down in flames and he's left with a boatload of debt, Mark Brumfeld is forced to move into his mom's basement. He takes out his frustrations at being overeducated and underemployed by creating a Youtube series in which he blames baby boomers for all the economic woes faced by millennials. He suggests, no demands, that boomers give up their jobs or millennials will take them from them - by force if necessary. Although Mark is really just venting, a domestic terrorist group forms around his words and runs with them.

Boomer1 is told from three perspectives, Mark aka Boomer1, Cassie his exgirlfriend who has achieved success in a job he helped her find, and Mark's mother, once a '60s radical, now a suburban mom. This is a well-written, sometimes funny, often insightful look at what life is like in today's economic reality for both millennials and boomers. As such, no doubt a reader's reaction to this book will reflect to a greater or lesser degree what side of the great generational divide they reside on. It will also, no doubt, make them think and isn't that what good literary fiction is all about.

Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Sep 19, 2018 |
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"Daniel Torday is a two-time National Jewish Book Award recipient and winner of the 2017 Sami Rohr Choice Award for The Last Flight of Poxl West. Torday's work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, The Paris Review Daily, Esquire, The Kenyon Review, and Tin House, and has been honored in both the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. He is the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College."--""Torday is a singular American writer with a big heart and a real love for the world. He has the rare gift for writing dynamic action scenes while being genuinely funny." --George Saunders Bluegrass musician, former journalist and editor, and now PhD in English, Mark Brumfeld has arrived at his thirties with significant debt and no steady prospects. His girlfriend Cassie--a punk bassist in an all-female band, who fled her Midwestern childhood for a new identity--finds work at a "new media" company. When Cassie refuses his marriage proposal, Mark leaves New York and returns to the basement of his childhood home in the Baltimore suburbs. Desperate and humiliated, Mark begins to post a series of online video monologues that critique Baby Boomers and their powerful hold on the job market. But as his videos go viral, and while Cassie starts to build her career, Mark loses control of what he began--with consequences that ensnare them in a matter of national security. Told through the perspectives of Mark, Cassie, and Mark's mother, Julia, a child of the '60s whose life is more conventional than she ever imagined, Boomer1 is timely, suspenseful, and in every line alert to the siren song of endless opportunity that beckons and beguiles all of us."--

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