Picture of author.

Jen Beagin

Autor(a) de Big Swiss

4 Works 737 Membros 30 Críticas 1 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the name: Jen Beagin

Image credit: pulled from www.simonandschuster.com

Obras por Jen Beagin

Big Swiss (2023) 423 exemplares
Pretend I'm Dead (2015) 191 exemplares
Vacuum in the Dark (2019) 122 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
País (no mapa)
Local de nascimento
Torrance, Kalifornien, USA
Locais de residência
Hudson, New York, USA
University of California, Irvine (MFA)



One unique novel. About things like suicide and an affair and traumatic assaults, but also very funny in its own way. Set in upstate New York with memorable characters. *****
KatyBee | 11 outras críticas | Feb 26, 2024 |
eenie816 | 13 outras críticas | Feb 7, 2024 |
I wonder how many reviewers have used the word quirky or a synonym to describe this book. It is witty, it is a romance but mixed up in all of that is trauma, lots of trauma, an enormous hive of bees, dogs and some minature donkeys. I have seen the front cover all over the place and often wondered why it had a dog with his tongue sticking out towards another's mouth - well it's probably to reflect all the oral sex that is described in the book and a whole lot politer than putting labia shaped 'like a lotus flower' on it.

Greta (or Rebekah) has moved to Hudson 'where the horny go to die' and is living in a ramshackle but wonderful, old house that is cold and has a large bee hive on the ceiling in the kitchen. She has taken a job transcribing sessions that a local therapist holds who is known as Om. It means she knows everyone's secrets and can also, when she is out and about, identify people through recognising their voices. She regularly transcribes the sessions of someone she calls Big Swiss and eventually becomes obsessed with her. They meet because of their dogs and eventually have an affair but it is shadowed by their trauma. Big Swiss from being attacked by a man and only just surviving and Greta from her mother's suicide. There is also Sabine who owns the old house who has to go into rehab for her drug habit. So here we have three women who have been traumatised in one way or another but who deal with it in different ways; one is open about it and tells other people, one is so ashamed that she has treatment without telling anyone else and the other doesn't really realise that she is traumatised.

Whilst there is very dark side to this book, it is also about healing. About the unconditional love of animals and what they can do to help, about friendships and about facing up to your problems and dealing with them.

The best characters in the book are females with the men often being 2 dimensional. There is Sabine's father who is ancient but makes a pass at Greta.

Yes, people age horribly. They suffer strokes. Their bodies and brains fall apart. But the male ego? Firmly intact until the bitter end.

There is the violent man, Luke the husband who is a nonentity and Gideon the beekeeper in his simple clothing and with his kind nature. And there is Om wearing 'a white fishnet tank top, a chunky cardigan, and white harem pants'. The women, however are complex, witty, fighters who keep on going and who are not always predictable. They are described clearly, both physically and emotionally with rich inner lives and none of the women see themselves as victims.

The book is also a commentary or side swipe at therapy culture and whether that heals or not. I'm not sure it does anything for Big Swiss, it might help Greta but Beagin does seem to suggest that you can go on and have a life and love after trauma. But what is is about all the insects?
… (mais)
allthegoodbooks | 11 outras críticas | Jan 25, 2024 |
Pretend I'm Dead by Jen Beagin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one I had actually read the kindle sample for and was very excited about reading. Then forgot about for months. But I finally got around to it!

I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, it was fun in a grimy way but it just lacked something to get my really excited about it.

What I liked

- Mona has such a strong and distinct character voice that at first I didn’t realise that it was third person perspective until another character was introduced!
- Her life feels messy, and lived in in a realistic way. It’s chaotic, and concerning, but sadly believable.
- The supporting cast of characters are a bunch of fun oddballs (Mr Disgusting, Yoko and Yoko, Betty, Johnny), perhaps bordering on the cartoonish but I enjoyed that vibe.
- It is frequently funny. It was usually Mona’s response to other characters that had me cracking up. I really enjoyed the visuals when she was attempting to spy on Johnny.

What didn’t work

- The sample had got me hooked, and it does start very strong but I found it lost focus in the final two thirds (post-Mr Disgusting). The plot just becomes a little aimless, but then so does Mona.,
- This is not a book for anyone easily offended. While I do think that most of the wilder criticism I’ve seen in Goodreads reviews is reaching1 there are a few racist slurs, and it does deal with childhood sexual abuse in an uncomfortable way. Some of these things did feel like they were for shock value because ultimately to me the book felt it lacked substance.
- Something was missing. I definitely felt empathy and very sad for her shitty childhood, but I never felt connected or engaged with Mona. I struggled to relate to her I think. I was happy to be along for her journey but in the end I don’t feel like anything resonated.

I don’t think I’m going to remember this one in 6 months, but I’m interested to read Big Swiss still by the same author. If I can find it on a deal!

You can read this review and more on my blog

View all my reviews
… (mais)
ImagineAlice | 13 outras críticas | Jan 7, 2024 |



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