Few Pages, Lots to Think About: Andrew’s Brain

Andrew's BrainAndrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don’t be fooled by the short page count! Andrew’s Brain is a fascinating, complex read that turns a few pages into hours of thought provoking self and cultural examination.

Andrew, the main character, relates the story while talking to another person–who we are led to believe is some sort of psychiatrist. Much like any conversation, it is disjointed and flops around and the reader must pay close attention.

Throughout we are also forced to examine the reliability of Andrew as a narrator. In examining his reliability we are also encouraged to examine the reliability of our brains. What is the soul versus the mind? How do consciousness in the mind factoring together?

While these questions of them wrestled with eons and are new, they are placed against the background of both a pre and the post-9/11 world. We are confronted with modern American society and challenged to examine how our minds, brains and souls have worked to create the political and social constraints we easily slip into.

I chose to listen to the book on audio. This created a bit of a challenge the stream of consciousness/conversational narration is difficult to follow on audio. None-the-less, it does add a richness to the experience given that it is at it’s heart intended to be a auditory narration. Listening to in this manner also enhances the aspects of the unreliable narrator since our sense of hearing doesn’t capture every aspect.

All and all this is not a book for the faint of heart, but is a book that is worth while if you are committed to giving it the time it needs.

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