Today I am doing a requested review of First World Problems in an Age of Terrorism and Ennui by Dominic Peloso.
Blurb: First World Problems tells the existential struggles of a gen-x would-be revolutionary/terrorist who is frustrated that he can’t find a greater purpose or a cause worth fighting for. Set in DC between the WTO protests in 2000 and the attacks of 9/11, the protagonist- a disaffected, unreliable narrator who is irritated and bewildered with the world and the attitudes of those around him, wanders aimlessly through his interactions with coworkers, friends, and his girlfriend, all of whom seem to care about him but don’t understand him. He lashes out in a passive-aggressive way by maintaining a blog filled with tips “terrorists and anarchists” can use in their attacks, but the blog receives few hits or feedback, no matter how incendiary the posts. He attends the WTO demonstration hoping to experience a riot, but is disappointed at how artificial and tame political protests have become in the new millennium. He dreams of a major attack, just to shake up the status quo. But when 9/11 unfolds he is forced to reassess his goals and what is important in his life.
My Review: This is a tale about a slightly neurotic young man who wants to be noticed more than anything. He laments that he has never got to be a hero, never got to be present during some great event. Even though he has a good job and a longtime girlfriend it is not enough. He feels invisible. He starts a website to promote terrorism. He feels like even that is a failure and no one is paying attention till 9/11 happens and he sees one of his ideas unfolding before his eyes. Tyler, then in fear of the FBI tracking him for his web site decides he should leave town. Passing through his childhood hometown he reflects on his life and reassess what is important He goes back and takes up the threads of his life but he is still neurotic. I found the book to be well written but a little tiring at times. If you like a book about ordinary life and not a lot of action you will enjoy this book. I wish it would have wrapped better, maybe him receiving some mental help or something. It felt incomplete to me and the stories of where people were during the attack didn’t seem relevant. I give this book 3.5 stars.