Title: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
Author: Michael Chabon
I’ll admit, I’ve never read any Michael Chabon, despite it being on my to-do list forever. A co-worker recommended The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but the length of it has intimidated me lately as I can’t seem to focus on anything longer than a newspaper headline. So when a friend told me I should read Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I was dubious. But he told me it was one of his favorite authors, and I trust his opinion.
It’s the tale of one man’s summer post graduation, a time in his life when he’s at a cross road where he can follow his own path or the one established by his family. I enjoyed the book, but I’m not sure that I related to it. I asked my friend why he recommended it to me and he said “because it’s a beautifully written novel that captures the tender exuberance of being in your early 20s.” I’ll agree with the first part, but I think I had a different experience in my 20s.
To say I was a late bloomer is an understatement. So what I was doing in my early 20s is probably what people experienced in their late teens. Music was all that mattered to me and interpersonal relationships like those in the novel were off my radar.
I have to give it to Chabon, though. He captures the indecisiveness of youth quite well. The main character faces many crossroads and has to decide which path to choose: family, sexuality, love, etc. I think that’s what makes it relateable to many who read it. Most people find themselves at that same point in their life and find it challenging to figure out how to balance what they want to do with what they should do.
I discovered after I finished the book that there is a movie based on the film. I’ve not seen it, but it has Peter Sarsgaard in it, so that piqued my interest. However, when I discovered they merged characters and eliminated others has me disappointed. IMDB’s rating has me concerned as well. But perhaps I’ll check it out some time.