“‘The Sorrows of Young Mike’ is a deeply human story that explores one man’s struggle to find balance between his intellect and his libido, his compassion and his selfishness.” -The Aspen Daily News
Thoughtful yet spontaneous, self-aggrandizing and hopelessly philosophical, Mike would like to find out if the earth really is round. During his four-month voyage around the planet, Mike’s past loves, current romances and vision of himself are on a collision course. His mind becomes increasingly abstract as he navigates the continents and struggles with morality in a dream world of his own making, a universe where spring break happens weekly at a dart’s throw on a world map.
Mike’s story is told through his journal which is interlaced with various documents — essays, instant message conversations and an email. These documents tell a story that parodies Goethe, in both his behavior as a writer and his apparent views on love, nature and the world. These views were described in Goethe's eighteenth-century novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther.
John Zelazny is locked up in a cabin deep in the Rocky Mountains fighting the urge to disconnect himself. While still among us, he wishes to capture a novel, via parody, in every classic style he believes to be great. For his first - he would like to present a parody of an adolescent love story. Hopefully his second novel will come to him with slightly less anguish.
As an avid Oscar Wilde fan, I never thought I could find solace in a contemporary writer. I’m not sure I have, but my interest has been sparked. This little piece of writing has taught me things about myself that I am not sure I wanted to know. What “The Sorrows of Young Mike” says about love and Goethe and parody will change the way I read novels in the future.
I feel as if I should be angry with Mike. He seemed to have all the privileges in life that most do not, yet can't be truly happy. I believe he's asking a question about life that there is no answer to and his mind is his own worst enemy.
Through his vivid descriptions and enticing storyline, Zelazny engulfs his audience in a sea of emotion. “The Sorrows of Young Mike” epitomizes the true essence of young love and its pivotal role in one mans journey around the world. Mike’s multidimensional character inspired a passionate response within me. While unlikable at times, due to his thoughtless and egocentric behavior, Mike develops into a character that is deeply relatable. Zelazny arouses genuine emotion through the use of Mike and his uniquely realistic experiences and relationships. “The Sorrows of Young Mike” excites and engages all of your senses leaving you hopelessly enthralled with Zelazny’s work.
The Sorrows of Young Mike is a startlingly human story of a young man's decision to travel around the world - leaving behind his high school sweetheart.
Young Mike hones in on the dichotomy of the lies we tell ourselves, and the lies we tell everyone else - and it's unflinching in its juxtaposition. Our desire to strive for more, but our unwillingness to risk what we have.
Don't get me wrong, our protagonist is a dick - but the honesty with which he grapples his moral shortcomings leaves me reflecting upon my own misgivings. Both him and I are only human, and fundamentally flawed.
This book travels through a plethora of exotic locales - and it's wonderful to take this whirlwind journey around the planet - but at its core, this book is about humans. How easy humans are to love. How difficult humans are to understand.
What does it mean to love someone? Maybe I'll never be sure.
If you are a fan of Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis or Bright Light, Big City by Jay McInerney then you will enjoy The Sorrows of Young Mike. John Zelazny takes a modern prospective on entitled youth and the follies they endure. The book can be dark at times but Zelazny balances the dark subject matter with his great sense of humor and pessimistic but hilarious take on the world. He has a gift for bringing to life the various countries Mike visits on his journey around the world and you feel like you are traveling alongside him. You are probably not going to love Mike but he is a fascinating character and represents the emotional narcissism that can be present in young males when it comes to relationships and dating. I strongly recommend everyone to read this debut novel by a promising young author.
Maybe I'm not young, dumb, and in love? Maybe I don't like parodies? Or maybe the characters are just so vain, unintellegent, uninspired, surface-level - even the "deep thinking" Michael for which the title takes it's name? Maybe that was the point of this novel? Regardless, to compare this book to the rather great Bret Easton Ellis is an utter shame. Considering the high marks I expected much more. Wholely predictable on every level from beginning to end. Sorry John Zelazny, but I guess to each their own.
Read Goethe's book first!! I did not and this would have been more fun to read but I had a tough time with it. It also reads like it is meant perhaps for a younger audience? Maybe just because of the age of the main character. Also, the ending was very rushed. The main character is interesting and the places he goes were fun to read about but I wish I had realized it was a parody of something else before reading it.