Sunday, April 05, 2009

JPod by Douglas Coupland

Books Completed: 83
Completion Date: March, 2009
Pages: 448
Publication Date: May, 2007

Reason for Reading: It's Douglas Coupland... Enough said...
A lethal joyride into today’s new breed of technogeeks, Coupland’s forthcoming novel updates Microserfs for the age of Google.

Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers whose names start with J are bureaucratically marooned in jPod. jPod is a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver game design company.

The six workers daily confront the forces that define our era: global piracy, boneheaded marketing staff, people smuggling, the rise of China, marijuana grow ops, Jeff Probst, and the ashes of the 1990s financial tech dream. jPod’s universe is amoral and shameless. The characters are products of their era even as they’re creating it.

Everybody in Ethan’s life inhabits a moral grey zone. Nobody is exempt, not even his seemingly straitlaced parents or Coupland himself, as readers will see.

Full of word games, visual jokes and sideways jabs, this book throws a sharp, pointed lawn dart into the heart of contemporary life. jPod is Douglas Coupland at the top of his game.
All hail the brilliancy that is Douglas Coupland. I have loved his books for years now. I still haven't read all his books, because why rush, but I think he is by far one of my favourite Canadian authors (actually, author period) of all times. His books are just awesome! I can plot him out in my mind. I don't think I have read a book by him that hasn't stuck with in some way. The first book I read by him was All Families are Psychotic. As it was the first book I read by him, it remains pretty much my favourite. I don't know if that would change with a reread or not... I also love Girlfriend in a Coma, that is a fantastic book! Sadly, I read both of those books years before I started blogging. Excuse to reread, maybe? I don't love all of his books, though, but that is me. I am really a very critical person! For example, Nymeth considers Life as God her favourite, while when I read that book a few years ago I hated it! (I am planning a reread, though.)

Anyway, Chris just recently started reading Coupland. Nymeth challenged him to read Hey Nostradamus! I read that back when it first came out in paperback and I consider it another one of my favourites. It's another example of a Coupland book that has stuck with me, actually. JPod is actually a sequel of sorts to Microserfs. I haven't read Microserfs yet, so I am not sure how comparable it is. Two of my friends read JPod and said it was really good, though, so I decided I needed to see what I would think of it. Plus, it has been a while since I read Coupland. That's a major offense! Anyway, I have to say I really liked this book. I have been going back and forth on where it fits, for me, in my Coupland list. I don't know if it is my favourite, and nothing can beat Girlfriend in a Coma. All I know is that I really enjoyed it. It was a fun book that looked at so many issues! I was a little worried when Coupland wrote himself into the book, but I must say he really pulled it off!

Ethan Jarlewski is the narrator. He is a great character! Coupland is totally giving the nerd his day in the limelight. It is very entertaining, really. Ethan works as a gaming programmer, but it really seems that all he does is pointless procrasinating activities that are pretty entertaining! I mean, he works with a bunch of rather smart people, so their idea of 'fun' is not exactly my idea. The new girl in the office actually makes a hugging machine! I thought that whole process was really fun. Thrown in with the fun, though, are a lot of issues present in todays society. I mean, when we first meet Ethan's mother it is because she just called to tell him that she killed someone! Then, we see her grow-op. The book just goes on from there in every possible direction. One thing that happens in the book that I laughed my head off at was they are making a game, that is what they are doing for a living afterall, and they have to include a turtle in it somehow. The whole idea is pretty ludicrous, but I don't want to give a lot away. Anyway, so they have to model the turtle on Jeff Probst, the host of Survivor. The best thing is I could totally see that...

This book will make you laugh, but it will also make you think. I mean, when you hear just someof the topics presented in the book you will find yourself trying to figure out how it can possibly all work together, but it does! I'm sorry, I have to say it again, but jPod is brilliant and Coupland is brilliant for making it all work. The characters are a bit stereotypical, but it works for the story. I am really gushing here! I honestly didn't find a lot wrong with the book. I picked a perfect time to read it and, well, I LOVED it! If you haven't read Coupland you seriously have to. This book is totally him at the top of his game, but it is just one great book by a fantastic author. It's been a while since I had my Coupland fangirl moments, so you are just going to have to humour me!

Bottom line, I know for a fact that jPod will be on my best of list at the end of the year. Also, isn't the cover great? Okay, I really ramble when I really like a book...


  1. I haven't read a thing by him! Clearly I'm missing out!

  2. Kam Fong (I think that's how it was spelled...) was hands down my favourite character in this book! Glad you loved it as much as Mel and I did!

  3. Guess what? I just mooched this one! Woohoo! Sounds really good too after reading your review. And I'll definitely have to get Girlfriend in a Coma if it's one of your favs. I just got Eleanor Rigby in the mail..Nymeth said it's one of her favorites and I wanted to read more Coupland right away. Score!

  4. You actually hated Life After God? *cries*

    *cries some more*

    Okay, I'm recovered :P

    This sounds awesome, and you and Chris have been putting me in the mood for I'll get to Girlfriend in a Coma soon.

  5. I got this for my husband a little while ago but I may have to steal it back. Glad to hear it's going on your best of list already.

  6. I promise to come back and read your recent reviews because I really want to know what you thought of Black Hole. I put that on on my list after reading Nymeth's review.

    But, I stopped by to let you know I gave you a little award.. hope it makes you smile :)

  7. I can't believe I STILL haven't read anything by him!! Any opinions on which one I should start with??

  8. Well I'm almost 95% positive that I haven't ever read anything quite like this before. Not sure if I would enjoy it but it does sound different!

  9. Amy: Yes, you are missing out. :)

    Vanessa: Kam Fong was an awesome character, huh?

    Chris: I am glad you are going to be reading this one!

    Nymeth: Well, maybe not hate, but it sure wasn't my favourite book ever! I am glad you are going to be reading Girlfriend in a Coma soon!

    Rhinoa: Yes, stealing it back sounds like a plan!

    Iliana: Yay on the award, I will have to check it out!

    Joanna: I can't believe you haven't read him either. Hey Nostradamus worked good for Chris as his first, or you could go with Girlfriend in a Coma.

    Tink: Yep, different is a very good way to describe Coupland...

  10. I really need to read one of his someday!

  11. 3M: They are very worth a read!


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