We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons

Tim Kreider. Free Press, $20 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9870-4
Political cartoonist Kreider’s humorous collection of personal essays begins with his near-fatal neck stabbing; his failure to learn enduring life lessons from this traumatic event provides the book’s title, tone, and argument. Throughout, Kreider (Twilight of the Assholes) locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity’s inventive and manifold ways of failing: a secretive friend lives and dies behind a gigantic front of lies; another relocates to Missouri to prepare for peak oil Armageddon; and a delusional uncle with a knack for heinous crime expires in prison. Kreider’s shortcomings—in romance, friendship, empathy for Tea Partiers, life itself—are also recounted. The essays that contradict the book’s title prove especially strong. In the moving “Sister World,” adoptee Kreider reveals how meeting his biological sisters teaches him about the depths and degrees of relatedness, and how to handle uncharacteristic profusions of love. In “An Insult to the Brain,” Kreider reads Tristram Shandy aloud to his convalescing mother, and the novel’s lessons on tedium and time, and formal eccentricities, bleed into his essay. His piece on the Tea Party, “When They’re Not Assholes,” sums up human nature: “The truth is, there are not two kinds of people. There’s only one: the kind that loves to divide up into gangs who hate each other’s guts.” Agent: Meg Thompson, Einstein Thompson Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/02/2012
Release date: 06/12/2012
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4391-9872-8
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-4391-9871-1
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.