Monday, April 1, 2013

26 Books that Changed My Life: #1 The Amazing and Death-Defying Diary of Eugene Dingman

A: Appreciate Your Life

I thought I would spend the month of April delving into the literature that has made me the person I am today.

1] In this list you will find some of my favorite books, but you will also find books that I appreciate and books that I would recommend although they may not be my favorite. These are books that changed my way of thinking or my way of looking the world. These are books that helped solidify the core of who I am.
2] These books are in order of the theme that I came away with not alphabetical by title or author.

About this book:

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eugene Dingman of Bayonne, N.J., begins a diary on his 15th birthday, the day he learns that he's to be a waiter at a posh summer hotel in New York's Adirondack Mountains. The chronicle that follows comprises a marvelous blend of hyperbole and deadpan, at once poignant and hilariously funny, with characters that sparkle. Eugene finds both heaven and hell at the end of Skunksstet Misery Lane, where sits Lake Henry Hotel. Hell is being the youngest waiter, tormented by maniacal chef Bunker. Heaven is being hopelessly in love with Francophile waitress Della, who inspires Eugene to read Madame Bovary. But Eugene's love isn't returned. To add to his misery, his mother may be involved with an ex-Mafia hit man, and Eugene's long-absent father won't answer his letters. It isn't until after Labor Day that Eugene dramatically acts to establish his self-esteem. Zindel (The Pigman, I Never Loved Your Mind, My Darling, My Hamburger, etc.) masterfully captures the mixture of bravado, ingenuousness and aching self-doubt that are endemic to adolescence. Ages 12-up. (October)

Publication Date: 1/27/1988

Why this book:
I didn't realize how much this book and the character of Eugene influenced my life until I read this book again last year.

Eugene writes a diary where he talks about the books he's reading, his horrid summer job, his family and this girl he is head over heels in love with...I remembered all of that vividly. What I didn't remember was how out of place Eugene was and, how, in the end he only needed to trust himself to become successful. Eugene was always looking for something or someone else to solve his problems and he didn't realize that he need to appreciate his life and all that it had to offer. Although it wasn't his dream ideal if he kept trying to turn it into something it could never be, he'd only live a life of regret. I like how, in the end, Eugene goes home knowing who his true friends are, thoughts of ending it all far behind him.

A review for this book can be found here.


  1. Love the idea you have of posting a list of books that have "spoken" to you. What an interesting concept. Will return.

    Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

  2. Thanks for visiting my post A is for Alpacas. I love your theme. Never thought about how books might make us look at ourselves. Great post!

  3. What a nice theme you have thought of! And it's quite unique, too, the way you thought of book themes and not just titles. Can't wait to see your B-Z posts. :)

  4. I love the philosophical approach to your theme, wonderful idea. Makes me really want to read this book too! I look forward to more of your posts.

  5. Fun theme idea! I'm doing something similar with Influential Women Authors for the A to Z challenge.

    Interesting to look back on books we've read years ago. Some don't quite hold up, even if they were meaningful at one point (I'm thinking of some kids books in particular).



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...