Reviewed by Jill Arent
The subtitle for The Western Lit Survival Kit says it all: “An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner”. I’ve tried reading and/or flipping through anthologies like this before. Usually, collections of short précis or summaries of books/theories/philosophies sound much better than they actually are. Every author/compiler seems to think they are more witty and urbane than everyone else on the planet. Mathematically, of course, this isn’t possible. And the books bear that mathematical impossibility out.
Most of the time, books like The Western Lit Survival Kit read like a mediocre student’s collection of seventh grade book reports. Still, somehow I remain an eternal optimist about this type of book, despite the fact that