Heather Havrilesky generally likes Dan Kennedy’s Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation:
Despite his current successes — Kennedy is director of creative development at Atlantic Records and a contributor to McSweeney’s and Bookforum — the author drags out a long history of the most embarrassing sorts of mistakes and parades them around for our amusement.
Kennedy isn’t simply indulging in the self-flogging voice that’s hip at the moment. In fact, he shelves his ego completely, dredging up absolute catastrophes without flinching or hedging or couching it all in self-consciousness or padding it with “I already know that you know that I know” footnotes like fellow McSweeneyan Dave Eggers. Despite the rambling, slightly scrappy nature of his narrative, Kennedy’s utter lack of excuses, posturing or pretense give “Loser Goes First” a trustworthy, likable voice and make it a fascinating read for anyone who gets a perverse thrill from reading about someone else’s crappy decisions.