My Favorite War

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Thurgood Brinkman, a young Ivy League-educated reporter for a comic-book-colored national newspaper, has a nagging feeling there's something missing - from his job, his life, from the nineties in general. He spends his nights philosophizing with friends via E-mail about success and selling out, Freud and the possibility of lasting love; he wastes his day at work writing brain-numbing trend stories about oat bran, karaoke clubs, and the ever-fluctuating popularity of boxer shorts. But everything changes when ...
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Overview

Thurgood Brinkman, a young Ivy League-educated reporter for a comic-book-colored national newspaper, has a nagging feeling there's something missing - from his job, his life, from the nineties in general. He spends his nights philosophizing with friends via E-mail about success and selling out, Freud and the possibility of lasting love; he wastes his day at work writing brain-numbing trend stories about oat bran, karaoke clubs, and the ever-fluctuating popularity of boxer shorts. But everything changes when Thurgood meets Sojourner Truth Zapader, a charismatic, Afrocentric, fiercely intelligent columnist for The Washington Post, who challenges him to help her cover what could turn out to be, if they make it back, the story of their lives. Soon Thurgood leaves behind his personal battles for a larger war - the Gulf War - where he discovers truths about himself he never imagined and uncovers secrets about America he will never forget. While Farley focuses his searing wit on Brinkman's frustrations with consumer culture, corporatism, racism, and a debased media, My Favorite War is also a sensitive and probing investigation of the preoccupations of a generation, the foibles of a decade, and the perils of the modern world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
FYI: The author, a 1988 Harvard graduate, is a staff writer at Time.
Library Journal
Young black journalist Thurgood Brinkman is a graduate of a prestigious private college mired in a dead-end job with a USA Today-like newspaper. His love life has hit a wall, too, divided between yearning for unattainable Washington Post columnist Sojourner Truth Zapruder and an uninspiring series of dates with an 18-year-old named Eboni. When Eboni announces she's pregnant, things hit bottom. Then, fate intervenes as the Post hires Thurgood to accompany Sojurner to the Middle East to cover the Gulf War. Farley has created a fresh, appealing character in Thurgood. Unfortunately, the novel itself is somewhat less engaging. The satire is hit and miss; the plot relies too much on contrivance and coincidence. Still, a worthy purchase for public libraries.Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
The X in this Gen-X debut novel pays homage to Malcolm, whose confrontational politics serve as inspiration to the black radicals at the heart of Farley's tale. They stand out for their integrity in an otherwise disjointed narrative full of strained humor and callow editorializing.

The narrator, Thurgood Brinkman, is no radical himself; a buppie wannabe, this 29-year-old journalist feels himself a failure. Neither a distinguished member of "the talented tenth" nor a successful graduate of his elite school, Thurgood writes silly lifestyle pieces for a newspaper much like USA Today, where his editors demand the latest on oversized vegetables. His role model is one Sojourner Truth Zapader, a columnist for the Washington Post, to whom Thurgood sends weird e-mail. His work life a mess, Thurgood fails with women, too, from an anti-Semitic computer thief to a switchboard operator with four kids. Meanwhile, his own sister, Bethune, is dating a white rapper, whose gangsta lingo and style drive him to distraction. Thurgood's big break comes when Zapader offers him a job as her assistant covering the Gulf War. Stuck in a Saudi hotel, the two eventually elude their Army guards, get lost in Iraq, then are captured and held in a Baghdad hotel. Along the way, Zapader's rants about black nationalism and American imperialism draw none of Thurgood's withering commentary, which he saves for a general named Luther Pinpoint (a thinly veiled parody of Colin Powell) and other alleged race traitors. A subplot about a ghetto girl mentored by Thurgood is apparently meant to add to his education, but it's not clear exactly how.

The social and the existential clash in this self-satisfied book: grand-theme musings mix uneasily with excessive concerns about college friends, beginnings of careers, and such—making for pitfalls of a classic first-novel kind.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880015905
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1st Ecco Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.85 (d)

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