How I Became Stupid

( 9 )

Overview

Ignorance is bliss, or so hopes Antoine, the lead character in Martin Page's stinging satire, How I Became Stupid'a modern day Candide with a Darwin Award-like sensibility. A twenty-five-year-old Aramaic scholar, Antoine has had it with being brilliant and deeply self-aware in today's culture. So tortured is he by the depth of his perception and understanding of himself and the world around him that he vows to denounce his intelligence by any means necessary-in order to become 'stupid? enough to be a happy, ...

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How I Became Stupid

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Overview

Ignorance is bliss, or so hopes Antoine, the lead character in Martin Page's stinging satire, How I Became Stupid'a modern day Candide with a Darwin Award-like sensibility. A twenty-five-year-old Aramaic scholar, Antoine has had it with being brilliant and deeply self-aware in today's culture. So tortured is he by the depth of his perception and understanding of himself and the world around him that he vows to denounce his intelligence by any means necessary-in order to become 'stupid? enough to be a happy, functioning member of society. What follows is a dark and hilarious odyssey as Antoine tries everything from alcoholism to stock-trading in order to lighten the burden of his brain on his soul.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Philosophy meets farce in a slim debut novel that follows its hero on a madcap search for an antidote to intellectualism. Antoine, a shy 25-year-old, has determined that his sharp intelligence is the cause of his emotional distress. His first two stabs at numbing his overactive mind-an attempt at alcoholism and an overearnest foray into suicide-end before they begin. Like a modern-day Goldilocks, he finds his "just right" solution in a prescription for Happyzac, which promises him a "simpler, more beautiful" life. As the pills do their work, he decorates with posters of cars and women, plays Monopoly and video games instead of chess, bulks up at the gym and eats at McDonald's. An old acquaintance hires him as a stockbroker, and he accidentally becomes stinking rich. With his newfound wealth, Antoine tries to complete his stupidity spiral by mimicking the consumption habits of his peers. But when his boss shows him that he can also acquire women with money, his drugged-up consciousness starts percolating. With help from Flaubert's letters, a visit from the "premature ghost" of a living pop singer and an exorcism-style intervention by his pre-stupidity friends, Antoine ends up as he predicted-back on the side of intelligence-in Page's smart, playful and critical look at human folly. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Antoine is too smart for his own good-or so he thinks. He spends his days considering life rather than actually living it. He sees other people who seem perfectly happy in their ignorance, and he wants to be one of them. To achieve this end, Antoine decides that he needs to become stupid and tries various methods without success. Then his doctor prescribes Happyzac, which changes Antoine's life. He really does "get stupid," accidentally earns millions, indulges himself, and generally enjoys being one of the masses. Then, with his company's collapse, the bubble bursts. Antoine returns to an intelligent life when he meets a like-minded girl in the park. Page's first novel deftly combines biting satire and hilarious slapstick. His characters are highly introspective misfits, and the story makes for insightful commentary on life in the "developed" world. Recommended for most libraries.-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Ashaway Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142004951
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 555,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.18 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Page was born in 1975. He is a student of anthropology. This is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Fun read

    Loved it. Reminds me of Twain or Vonnegut.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2011

    Delightful

    I stumbled across this book several years ago and fell in love with it. This is by far the most entertaining read about the plight of the intelligent in todays society. Needless to say I was very upset when I realized that my book had vanished so now I must purchase a new edition. I highly recommend this to anyone who feels like they don't fit in because of their mental capacity, or who find entertainment in watching idiots.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quick, yet snobby read

    I loved the first half of this book. Very funny, very good writing. Towards the end, Antoine starts to show intelligence as something snobby rather than something to covet. Although I did enjoy the book, the second half sort of instructs the reader to become a hardcore liberal rather than focusing on the loneliness and uniqueness that comes with being smart.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    I stumbled upon this book and it looked interesting enough so I picked it up. I'm so glad I did. The subject matter is unique, out there, and fresh, yet there is something about the character that you can identify with. Comically depressing at points, it offers a new perspective on serious emotions, and I found myself laughing at, loathing, and relating with the character all at once. His conflict is both absurd and credible, and makes for a great, short read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2006

    Pretty Cool

    This book doesn't bore you, teaches you something, makes you laugh, and the fact that many details aren't included isn't a big deal, for they are futile in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    Unfortunate

    The synopsis on the back cover attracted me to this work. I thought it would be a funny/satirical social critique, which it certainly had room for given the subject matter. Unfortunately, the work was actually a compilation of cheap, detached, predictable jokes and absurdity. Very disappointing.

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    Posted September 20, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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    Posted December 9, 2009

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    Posted December 10, 2008

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    Posted January 27, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 9 Customer Reviews

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