How I Became Stupid

How I Became Stupid


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Ignorance is bliss, or so hopes Antoine, the lead character in Martin Page's stinging satire, How I Became Stupid'a modern day Candide with a Darwin Award-like sensibility. A twenty-five-year-old Aramaic scholar, Antoine has had it with being brilliant and deeply self-aware in today's culture. So tortured is he by the depth of his perception and understanding of himself and the world around him that he vows to denounce his intelligence by any means necessary-in order to become 'stupid' enough to be a happy, functioning member of society. What follows is a dark and hilarious odyssey as Antoine tries everything from alcoholism to stock-trading in order to lighten the burden of his brain on his soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142004951
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/30/2004
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,154,506
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Martin Page was born in 1975. He is a student of anthropology. This is his first novel.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A harmonious and surprising mixture of optimism and nihilism. (La Vie Magazine)

A wild yet powerful book. (Elle)

Customer Reviews

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How I Became Stupid 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JimPratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel has a surrealistic quality, in much the same vein as Perfume, another translated from French, leaving a nagging question of whether it might make more sense in the original, untranslated version. The premise is an entertaining one¿Antoine has decided that his intellect is a disability which prevents him from fully participating in what he sees as the happiness experienced by tout le monde. Wisely the examples of this are not multiplied, but as a for instance, Antoine has a very restricted diet because he understands too much about the farming and food production processes that are either taking advantage of workers, being cruel to animals or harming the environment. Failing at other options, including suicide, Antoine succeeds in suppressing his mental prowess by taking a job as an investment broker, becoming rich and indulging in all of the accoutrements of success-clothes, rich foods and cars. But in the process he loses his bearings, and his quirky group of friends who then stage an intervention to bring him back to himself. He abandons his trappings of success in a subversive, revolutionary fashion bringing down the financial operation that fuelled his material attainments. The book finishes with Antoine finding a girl with whom he seems to share an anarchic, individualistic, playful approach to life, which, presumably is his true path to happiness.
jarlalex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being smart carries an unfortunate burden -- you tend to think too much. Page shows how you can achieve superficial success by just sitting back and letting it happen, even though that leaves an emotional void.
MikeFarquhar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In sharp contrast, how i became stupid by Martin Page is brimming over with cariacatured human characters. Antoine is a 25 year old French academic, specialising in Aramaic, who has a problem - he's intelligent, horribly self-aware of everything he does, and the moral implications of his actions. Deciding that his intelligence is a curse, he sets out to remedy matters - first by trying to become an alcoholic, dabbles with the idea of suicide, and then eventually manages to fins happiness of a sort in a gently dumbing anti-depressant called Happyzac that changes his life, as he accidentally stumbles into wealth and consumerism.Gloriously over the top and silly, this is a satire which happily takes potshots at anti-intellectualism, and masks a surprisingly positive outlook behind a veneer of cynicism and world weariness. The final intervention scenes, when Antoine's friends decide they have had enough of the greedy self-obsessed creature he has become are great fun. Antoine's mini journey through modern life takes plenty of shots at both sides, with both sides flaws clearly on show.It's all very French.
shawnd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. In some ways it's a dialectic about high intelligence and its effects on a life, that sort of reminded me about Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. And even that doesn't describe it. While I thought the book would be about an average man or woman who-after going through the effects of modern marriage or better yet child rearing, and getting old-suddenly starting losing their mind. Not so. This book rather was about a young man who is seeing the realistic effects of doing what he enjoys and seeing all the unenjoyable consequences, and the advantages held by an outwardly seeming less noble group of the populace (without spoiling it). On the downside, I felt like the author spent far too high a % of the book reaching his goal of becoming stupid than he did describing what it was like once he was there. If that was fixed this thing would be incredible. Tremendously engaging.
woosang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dull story of a bored young 'Intelligent" man who attempts to become stupid, and finds an easy way through life. His friends come to his 'rescue' Painful to read.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the funniest books I've read in a long time, especially when you consider that it was originally written in French. If you read too much and take yourself too seriously, you should read this book and get a laugh. Of course, I'm not sure if I should laugh too hard as I picked up on so many of the literary references as to make myself feel uncomfortable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Reminds me of Twain or Vonnegut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book several years ago and fell in love with it. This is by far the most entertaining read about the plight of the intelligent in todays society. Needless to say I was very upset when I realized that my book had vanished so now I must purchase a new edition. I highly recommend this to anyone who feels like they don't fit in because of their mental capacity, or who find entertainment in watching idiots.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DC21 More than 1 year ago
I loved the first half of this book. Very funny, very good writing. Towards the end, Antoine starts to show intelligence as something snobby rather than something to covet. Although I did enjoy the book, the second half sort of instructs the reader to become a hardcore liberal rather than focusing on the loneliness and uniqueness that comes with being smart.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon this book and it looked interesting enough so I picked it up. I'm so glad I did. The subject matter is unique, out there, and fresh, yet there is something about the character that you can identify with. Comically depressing at points, it offers a new perspective on serious emotions, and I found myself laughing at, loathing, and relating with the character all at once. His conflict is both absurd and credible, and makes for a great, short read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book doesn't bore you, teaches you something, makes you laugh, and the fact that many details aren't included isn't a big deal, for they are futile in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The synopsis on the back cover attracted me to this work. I thought it would be a funny/satirical social critique, which it certainly had room for given the subject matter. Unfortunately, the work was actually a compilation of cheap, detached, predictable jokes and absurdity. Very disappointing.