Reading books is like dating. Sometimes the book is really good and you click immediately; other times it's ridiculously horrible and you dread every second you spend with it. Other times it's no one's fault- there's just no connection. That's how I feel about Caleb Crain's Necessary Errors.
I requested the book with enthusiasm, based on positive blurbs from authors like Chad Harbach (there was another author in the Penguin's email that I don't remember, and strangely it's not on any of the materials they sent... interesting). Once I started reading it, there was just no connection to be found. It didn't make me feel, question, or think about anything other than when I would be finished reading it. It took me a few weeks to get through, and while I tried to blame the lengthy read on going back to work, I knew the truth was that Necessary Errors and I just weren't a good match (although the name and implications behind it are great). I can't complain about the writing, and I don't mind a character study- it just wasn't for me.
So, what's it about?
Jacob Putnam arrives in Prague after the 1989 as a gay English teacher from the US and must learn to immerse himself in a foreign country and juggle his social life. He must learn to combat loneliness, friends falling in love, and his future. Jacob also must deal with being a homosexual during a time and place where it wasn't exactly accepted. Basically, it's a 466 page book about his every day life in Prague- it was just too much for me (the descriptions of Prague were great, though).
Bottom line- I can't recommend it, but I can't not recommend it either; just like the dating world, while this book didn't make me very happy it might make some other reader a very luck man/woman.