Glad this was a collection of essays, rather than a novel. I don't think I would have been able to make it through a novel of this type of writing. Also made it easy to read while on the pot.
The essays start out with brilliance (especially the first two, about romance and The Sims, respectively), but my interest in them fizzled out. There are a few bright points here and there in the remaining essays (the essay about serial killers and our fascination with them is dead on). There is no doubt Klosterman is an adept writer, can pinpoint emotions, and locate intermittently with a witty finger the pulse of certain social issues (like what the hell tribute bands are all about and WHY). But the tone in which he does so is sometimes reminiscent of...how shall I put it? A smart-ass thirty-year-old who thinks he is very clever with his observations, and justifies it by saying he is a Gen X'er and entitled to his lofty superiority. In other words, if you read Klosterman, you're just the type of person he'd look down on.
In trying to deconstruct pop culture, Klosterman sometimes comes across as believing himself an expert about everything American. He also has no qualms about insulting outright the very audience reading his book. Even though he jokes in the beginning that he writes these things late at night in a state of near-delirium, you still get the impression he thinks he is, as he might put it, the "uber-mensch".
Some of the essays are so specialized that I had absolutely no interest in reading them, and skipped right over them as I realized the entire essay was absorbed in deconstructing, say, basketball heroes. So I can't really say I enjoyed the entire book - some of it was unintelligible to me; hence, 3 stars (IMHO).
True, Klosterman has been saturated with pop culture through his research and work with major magazines, but most of his off-the-cuff opinions are just that -- opinions and rantings rather than hard facts supported by any type of references, so keep in mind that you're reading personal essays, rather than research articles.
Perhaps I was tainted, since I had just finished reading half of Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men," and the entire of Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," so one more book illustrating the hopeless stupidity of the human race may have caused me unfair irritation.
Strong essays for the most part, well written, but I lost interest and read them very patchily throughout the last half of the book because the tone grated on my nerves.