I recently finished what was quite possibly the worst book I have ever read—You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers. If I didn’t have such a complex about not finishing books I’ve started, I surely would have put it down at page fifty. After reading Eggers’ first book and memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), I was intrigued and excited to read more of his work.
You Shall Know Our Velocity, his debut novel, however, left me confused and annoyed. The plot follows Will and Hand, two childhood friends from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, who set out on a week-long, around-the-world odyssey, to give away a large sum of money. I might add that Will earned this large sum of money ($80,000 in cash) by screwing in a light bulb. Will is extremely uncomfortable with the money and is thus driven to get rid of the money as quickly as possible by blowing it on travel and gifts to random people they encounter along the way.
The whole book and plot is absurd. I know that some people appreciate this type of random and senseless humor (Snarg), and I certainly was caught laughing out loud at times. But overwhelmingly, I was annoyed throughout. The book was not a page turner, nor a book I even remotely looked forward to sitting down with. In fact, it took me three solid months to finish, and I’m just thankful it’s over. Because, really, I don’t give a damn about their velocity.