Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Report

Just finished Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From the Edge, and I have mixed feelings about it. No question, the man has seen horrors and tragedies around the world, including in our own backyard (NOLA). I'm sure that jacks up your head pretty bad. Add to that the fact that his father died unexpectedly when he was very young, and his brother committed suicide a few years later. Mix in a healthy dose of famous mother (Gloria Vanderbilt...yes, the Gloria Vanderbilt) and you've got a trust fund baby with an adrenaline addiction.

The stories he tells are touching, and powerful. The way he tells them is confusing (he jumps around from this time to that, rather abruptly) and self-aggrandizing. He's the Paris Hilton of broadcast news. "I'm hot, and I know it." The cover and many of the inside pictures feature him with a very studious, serious expression on his face, befitting all the intense situations he's run to trying to escape his inner pain.

Is he a good reporter? Probably. We don't have cable and therefore never watch CNN. He broadcast quite a bit from NOLA right after Katrina, but we were in new-baby haze what with Zoe being born the day after the storm surge and all. We watched non-stop CNN coverage the entire time we were in the hospital, but I can't remember Mr. Cooper standing out in my mind. I'm sure he's a decent reporter, and I admire his efforts to get to where the story really is, and to tell all of us in middle America what's really going on.

I just don't think he needed yet another outlet to cleanse his soul, to tell the world of his personal angst (and make a pretty penny at the same time, no doubt).

For such a deep subject (humanitarian crises the world over mixed with personal suffering), it was a shallow read, alternating between "poor me" and "I know I'm great, and I'd like to make sure you know it, too." It seems hastily written, and meant to serve only one purpose, whatever Mr. Cooper needed to do for himself.

I give it one bookmark out of five.


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