Excerpt from I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I See You Made an Effort

Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

by Annabelle Gurwitch

I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch X
I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2014, 256 pages
    Feb 2015, 256 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Suzanne Reeder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I See You Made an Effort

My computer was moving sluggishly. A year ago, upon pressing the start button, my machine swiftly jumped to attention. Now the familiar sight of documents dotting the photograph of my thirteen-year-old son was replaced by a black bar inching across a dull gray expanse, like an octogenarian with a walker creeping through an intersection. Then the software failed to load altogether. It was going to take a stroke of genius to get it working again.

The Glendale Galleria Apple Store is staffed by a crew whose average age could be summed up as: if you have to ask, you're too old to want to hear the answer. After checking in, I am told my personal genius will meet me at the Bar.* Homo genius are outfitted uniformly in T-shirts announcing their membership in an elite tech-savvy species. Mine sports a headband, which artfully musses his hair. He is wearing a name tag that reads "AuDum." I ask him how he pronounces it.

*Word on the street is Apple wants to hire more women, but go to your local store, and you'll notice that the majority of the Geniuses are male.

"Is it a creative spelling of the first man, Adam? Is it a Sanskrit chant—Auuuduuuum? A percussive sound?"

"No," he replies. "It's pronounced autumn, like the season."

"Are you in a band?"

"No, my mother gave me that name."

"You belong to a generation of great names," I tell him. I am thinking of the kids whose instruments I check out every Friday afternoon in the music department at my son's school. Each student's name is more interesting than the next: Lilit, Anush, Reason, Butterfly, Summer and Summer Butterfly, which seems like both a name and a tone poem. I make sure to repeat their names before wishing them a good weekend, reasoning that in classes of forty-five students, this might be the only moment in their school day when they get individually recognized. Or maybe I'm doing it because it's just fun to recite their names out loud. Coming as I do from a generation of Mandys and Mindys, Lisas and Leslies, AuDum's name is an instant clue that my Genius and I are separated by decades in which progenitors have gifted their offspring with intriguing names.

AuDum begins talking about his mother and I hold my breath, wondering if he will say that she is my age. Thankfully, he says she's a bit older, sixty-two. She's a speech pathologist who lives in Albuquerque and he admires her work. I am charmed by his obvious affection for his mother. He has been well cared for, I think, as I notice that he has good teeth. Braces? Maybe not, but definitely regular dental care. As he examines my computer, he tells me my hard drive is dying.

"But it's so young—it's only a few years old."

He explains that computer years are like dog years times three, making my computer only slightly younger than I am.

"But there were no outward signs. It was doing just fine until recently."

"Nobody knows exactly why computers fail," he tells me. "It's not like people, who have a steady decline—the end can come without warning. You're catching it just in time," he says, adding, "do you have an external hard drive?" I tell him I do, thinking that if my Apple Time Machine* weren't the size of a wallet I would jump inside it and go back in time so I could be his age. While I was there, I would also correct a few of the numerous errors in judgment I've made in my almost fifty years on the planet.

To start with, I would change all my PIN numbers, secret passwords, and security codes to the exact same thing.† I also went door-to-door to register voters for John Kerry in 2004, made phone calls for John Edwards in 2000, and took pottery classes after the maudlin melodrama Ghost, with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, came out in 1990. I'm not sure which was the biggest misstep, but a trip back in time could, at the very least, keep half a dozen ill-formed ashtrays out of California landfills.

Excerpted from I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch. Copyright © 2014 by Annabelle Gurwitch. Excerpted by permission of Blue Rider Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women & Power
    Women & Power
    by Mary Beard
    The treatise Women & Power: A Manifesto discusses a scene in Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus&...
  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.