I’m really torn about this book. It’s written by someone I’m not familiar with, Tom Stern, who apparently works in the film business as a writer/director. So, when I was asked to review it, I readily agreed after discovering the author was a writer in a different industry. This, at the very least, assures me that their writing will not be terrible, and usually quite readable and clear in most cases. I was right, Sutterfeld, You are Not a Hero is pretty decent, although the narrative is tedious, I believe Stern did this on purpose to demonstrate the protagonist’s tendency to over-focus and irritate people.
So, although the writing was a bit boring, and I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed by the book, I’m still not sure if I can really say I didn’t enjoy it. Throughout the 226 pages of it, I kept thinking to myself “is this an allegory? Is Sutterfeld’s experience supposed to represent some magical, mind-blowing symbol that I just haven’t caught onto yet?” To be completely honest, I’m still actually wondering that same thing, that maybe I was simply too dense to catch onto the ‘moral’ or ‘meaning’ of this story. The book was quite simple, which is why I keep thinking I’m missing something. Basically, the protagonist Sutterfeld is a worker bee, someone with not much of a personal life, or personality, who goes to his job every day as a low-level employee. Then suddenly, one day he is promoted to CEO of this huge company because of a mistake he made. And his new highly paid position is very strange, and seems quite meaningless as his only task is making sure these cogs on the wall keep turning.
See what I mean? I’m sure this is a comment on capitalism, and how we’re all wasting away our lives for ‘the man’, yet Stern didn’t quite take it home for me, so I don’t think I completely caught on to what he was trying to say. And then there is this beautiful author photo included on the inside cover that depicts Stern, hunched over his desk writing, much like I would imagine someone hunched over their desk in a cubicle. Which again got me thinking: is this author photo a commentary on how we’re all like Sutterfeld in some way? And then as I thought of that, I realized that Stern was a genius, because no author in at least the last few months has had me second guessing my interpretation of a story quite like this. And even more troubling: as I write this blog post, I realize that I’m writing in exactly the tedious way that Stern wrote while depicting Sutterfeld’s round about way of thinking. (insert Twilight Zone music here). So, Stern is either a complete genius, or he’s stumbled into writing a boring book in an attempt to transition out of the film business, either way, I’m glad I read this.