Reviews in 200 Words

Shoplifting From American Apparel by Tao Lin

In Fiction, Novella on March 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm

On the back of this book, it says, “The inmate with a mop / held back the inmate / without a mop.” I almost feel like I shouldn’t say anything else about this book, but I will. It has very little to do with inmates; except, as soon as I see that written, I’m thinking that it has everything to do with inmates, and that we’re all always inmates to something, and that the whole world is helping other inmates out, or not. So, maybe that’s exactly what this book can do. Sam and Sheila are boyfriend and girlfriend, sort of. Not a lot happens in this story; in fact, you could read it and say that it’s about nothing. But then you can’t stop thinking about it, so it must be about something. It’s supposed to be semi-autobiographical. And, if you know anything about Lin, you know that he’s constantly being a subtle genius. People understand him. This book reflects an alternative youth culture that tests the mainstream. Sam gets thrown in jail for shoplifting, more than once. He’s vegan. Life is repetitive. Pretty soon you’ll ask yourself what you’ve done today, this week, this year.

-Micah Ling


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