Saturday, July 1, 2017

Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin

Rating: WARTY!

I gave up on this audiobook out of sheer frustration because I couldn't figure out where (or even if) it started! Unlike the movie, which I really liked despite the pretentious title, the story seemed to start in the middle, so I thought maybe this was a prologue - which I don't do. I started skipping tracks to find the first one which started "chapter one" or something to indicate a start, and I reached the end of the disk before I reached that. I tried the last disk to see how that sounded and it was just as confused. I concluded that Fred Waitzkin doesn't know how to tell a story, which is sad, because this could have been a good one had it been well-written instead of the rambling mess it was.

You can say what you like about how superficial Hollywood is (and I often do!), but those guys usually know how to self-edit and how to cut to the chase, even though they don't exactly tell the true story in this case, so I'd recommend the movie over the book any time. The reading by Lloyd James was so-so: nothing great, but nothing awful either, yet even had they the world's most brilliant orator at their disposal, they could not have saved this poor story-telling. Plus, you have to wonder what the point of the book really was. As of this writing, Josh Waitzkin is in his forties and he pretty much abandoned chess, at least as a player, and had already moved on to other things when he was still a young man.

I notice that the idiot blurb on Amazon-owned Goodreads reads (at least of this writing): "The compelling sage of three years in the life of a real American chess prodigy". I think they mean saga, not sage! LOL! I can't recommend this.