25 April 2008

Book Banter -- The Learners

Title: The Learners
Author: Chip Kidd
Length: ~2250 pages
Genre: literary fiction
Plot Basics: A few years have passed since the end of Kidd's "The Cheese Monkeys." Happy, the protagonist, now goes to work for an ad agency where his beloved professor once worked. One of Happy's first jobs is to design an ad recruiting participants for an experiment run at Yale by Dr. Stanley Milgram. Happy later volunteers himself for the experiment and ends up on a journey about self-discovery and happiness and human capabilities.
Banter Points: Who all ever had to study Stanley Milgram in school and the ethics of his experiment? (Word Nerd raises her hand). This is by far the most intriguing look at this experiment Word Nerd's ever come across. Rather than just explaining what Milgram did, it delves into how the people who took it reacted to what they learned. Of course, Kidd's blend of graphic design lessons and over-the-top comedic characters helps too.
Bummer Points: The ending. Not what Word Nerd was expecting. Also, not quite as captivating as "The Cheese Monkeys."
Word Nerd Recommendation: Go pick up both "The Cheese Monkeys" and "The Learners" and see just how great of a writer Kidd is for yourself.

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