Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I just finished reading "Barman" by Alex Wellen. It's a memoir about a Temple Law student's search for a job at a big law firm, and his experience studying for and taking the Bar Exam and his first few months at a firm. I felt like the book could be divided into two parts -- there were the parts he talked about law student stuff, and there were the parts he talked about his girlfriends and his parents and his search for an apartment and the rash he got from ripping up the concrete to replace the apartment's walls. I found the law student parts interesting, mostly because I could relate. He's a good writer. His description of the job search was good. His description of studying for the bar exam rang true and gave me a clue as to what I'll be experiencing eighteen months from now. My only criticism of that part of the book is that it was really just a description, and wasn't filled with too many insights about the process or interesting observations. Nothing extraordinary happened to him. He found a job without all that much trouble, he didn't fall into a hole in the Earth on the way to the bar exam... actually a refreshing difference from Brush With The Law, where the authors lived ridiculously atypical law student lives... but it didn't make his story all that fascinating. Although, like I said, it's well-written. The rest of the book I wasn't as compelled or engaged by. Obviously, law students will identify with the law school stuff more... but the parts about his girlfriends, about his parents, about his brother, about his trip to Europe with his roommate, and their apartment search, and the rats that live in the bathroom... again, well-written -- but very much like reading his journal. It was a description of his life, without lots of insight or thoughts about the world or deeper realizations. I had trouble caring, a little bit. And I kept wondering why everywhere he went he'd meet another girl who's crazy about him. Which made me wonder if part of this was wishful thinking on his part. But even if not, again, well-written -- and I read the book in one sitting even though I really hadn't planned to, because I did find it engaging -- but not extraordinary. In the epilogue, he writes about how he left the law firm to go start a TV show on the TechTV network. But not too many details on why, about why law firm life didn't work for him, about the decision to leave, about what he'd learned about himself. And that was missing throughout the book -- the introspection, the reason to have written it. I enjoyed the book, but I guess I don't know why it needed to be written, what the story is that he needed to tell, and why he needed to tell it. But, like I keep saying, it's well-written, and I found myself not wanting to put it down. So I can't complain too much.