Customer Reviews for

The Ask

Average Rating 3.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2
  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Don't bother

    Funny at first, but that stops and the protagonist becomes just plain annoying. Not a likeable character in the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Different

    Sometimes you read a book that got good reviews up the wazoo and you ask yourself why. This is one of those books. Certainly it is an entertaining tale and the author is talented. But this novel is overwritten. Some of it is downright difficult to understand. Quite a few times while reading it I had to go back and reread certain sentences that looped back around each other making you wonder in the end what was the subject and what was the predicate. But after I gave up trying to decipher the writer's personal code, I did manage to finish the book. I was not amused.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2013

    I don't see what all the fuss was about.  The book has unlikable

    I don't see what all the fuss was about.  The book has unlikable characters acting out a predictable plot while mouthing banalities.  If the plot really is "secondary to the writing," then the book is just another writer's workshop exercise.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Such a well written, funny book.

    Excellent prose. A great story. Highly recommend. This sold me on lipsyte, i will definitely check out his other works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2011

    Great book!

    I listened to this book on my iPod as read by the author. The plot is really engaging. It's a great read. I'd highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Wow

    Yah+wow

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Something Different - Unpredictable and Holds Your Attention

    If you love the clever, complex writing style found in books from other literary periods, you will enjoy this novel as I did. (Ironically, the book is full of 2010 pop culture references that will likely keep it from being understood into future decades.)

    I very much enjoyed the unconventional story, giving readers a glimpse into the perhaps never before fictionalized world of higher education fundraising (albeit far from reality). I found this to be one of those books that keeps you reading until you finish.

    The only reason "The Ask" didn't get five stars from me is its heavy use of profanity. In spite of its relevancy in character development, it's still a turn-off for me personally. Great book regardless!

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brutally funny. Emphasis on brutal!

    If you get past the first three pages without laughing, this may not be for you. I loved it. The most cynical and brutally funny look at life for the Gen X now 40 crowd I've read. It was described to me as an update to the classic A Confederacy of Dunces, and lived up to those strong words, for me.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Writer's Read

    All these plot summaries by others suggest that readers are missing the point. The plot in this book is secondary to the writing, which is excellent. And then there are the characters, which are pretty good though not exceptional. But characters, too, are secondary to the writing. Lipsyte wants to explore what happens when you try to imagine a career professional and family man who gets canned and has something to say (and think) about that. And like everyone else, the protagonist, Milo Burke, has a past that is peopled by both lucky and unlucky others. The mash-up between past and present, luck and disappointment, makes up the core of the story. The author seeks not to make sense of everything and leave a perfected portrait in the reader's mind, but to show how it goes when such things happen to regular schleps (and lively literary characters). The novel "fails" to satisfy only because life itself often fails to do so. I found the book hilarious and touching, ribald and writerly. Lipsyte is a master of saying nothing while going on about ... a lot.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    If you Like the Humor, You'll Enjoy This

    This book is written totally from the point of view of Milo Burke, who is working in the office of development at a college in New York, which he jokingly calls Mediocre College at New York City. It consists entirely of Milo's internal thoughts and his interactions with the people in his life.
    At the beginning of the story, he gets fired for losing his cool and telling off a pampered and spoiled brat of a student whose parents donate large sums to the college. But, then he is called back on a temporary basis to work on developing a large donation from an old college friend of his who has insisted on working with him in order to agree to a large donation. He is told that he will get his job back if he succeeds. But, his old chum also has another job for Milo - to help him address a problem he has dealing with a son that he fathered many years ago, an Iraq war veteran who is lost both of his legs in the service.
    Whether or not you enjoy this book will depend on whether you find the writer's humor to be funny. It seemed to me to be the humor of a college age male, often sarcastic and sexist. I have no sympathy for the targets of the humor here, and being an older male who has never completely grown up, I enjoyed the book's tone and attitude.
    The book reminded me in its structure and tone of Joseph Heller's "Something Happened," which I read a long time ago and recall only slightly.
    It is not until the last quarter of the book that the following exchange occurs between Milo and his boss at work: "No, I mean, if I were the protagonist of a book or a movie, it would be hard to like me, to identify with me, right?" "I would never read a book like that, Milo. I can't think of anyone who would. There's no reason for it." Is this just supposed to make us feel stupid?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2010

    If you have conversations in your head, this book is for you

    Depressing, hilarious and cringe worthy at times, this off beat story of a fallen painter/failed major gifts fundraiser is fresh and at times painfully truthful. The writing style is part ageing hipster meets Woody Allen. The characters are in some ways people you know, people you meet everyday and people you've been avoiding ever seeing again for years. Yet I liked it a lot. There are quotable lines that are priceless.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    TOO CYNICAL FOR MY TASTE!

    Didn't know whether to commit suicide or jump through the pages of the book to slap him around, the main character was such a pathetic, self-pitying loser. I'm all for a little cynicism when tied to humor, but this was too much for me!

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    How do we measure success? Don't ask Milo.

    Let me start by saying that I'm glad I read this book. It provides the reader with no hope, happiness, euphoria, or peace, but it was extremely funny-in a very dark and disturbing way.
    LipsYte's writing is quite complex, so this book is not for the casual reader.

    About the plot: told from the point of view of Milo Burke, a self-deprecating and frustrating narrator. Milo is hanging on to a job by a thread. His colleagues have little to no respect for him and think he is more of a liability than anything else. By some twist of fate he gets to hold on to his job. Milo seems to always be the punch line to everyone's joke. He has to deal with a number of different eccentric people, most of whom seem much better off than he is. Milo has a wife, whose fidelity is questionable, a 3 year old son who loves but bosses him around, a boss who humors him, a client/old friend who tries to help him but only succeeds in confusing and angering him, and a project by the name of Don Charboneau (son of aforementioned client), who constantly berates and belittles him. Women show no interest in Milo, who is a failed artist with a vague potential that never materialized. In essence, he has all the qualities no man would want. He manages to anger or annoy everyone who crosses his path. In the end, I really felt sad for him. Despite all his flaws, I found him very likeable. Milo is your archetypal anti-hero; the man we hope men hope to never be.

    The book also dabbles in symbolism, but it beats me what they mean. Take note of the dueling knife and turkey wraps. Maybe they mean nothing but he seems fixated on these items.

    If you like to read a book that has a dark, twisted, cynical, but comedic view of the world and the strange people who populate it, give this book a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
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