Reading notes: The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles

This is a tough book to review! First, because it's arguably not a book: it's a bunch of Web pages at, and some of the narrative oomph comes not from words but from animated GIFs, Gmail screenshots, and the like. Second, because I learned about this book on Hacker News in a post that characterized it as "the best novel of our generation."

I am not an experimental fiction expert. But here are some things I think.

  1. This is a successful and striking work. I expect to remember it for the rest of my life. The premise is effective and Jon Bois is skilled at changing tones and formats in order to both challenge and relieve his readers. It's a work of fiction with a good engine and a skilled driver.
  2. But it's not a particularly great novel, and emphatically not the best novel of our generation.
  3. Sports, and specifically football, taps into feelings that very little else can. (There's a tweet I think about often--unfortunately, I can't find it--that said something like: "Never forget how you felt after the first episode of Friday Night Lights.")
  4. I probably ought to consume more experimental fiction. Jon Bois specifically is pretty well-acknowledged as a good and effective storyteller by now (his reputation reminds me a bit of pre-Nobel Bob Dylan's), but there's a whole world out there I know little of.

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