"Smart, clever, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, often touching, never sappy, I read [Too Good to Be True] in one sitting ... and delighted in staying with [Anastas]."
Randy Kraft, the O.C. BookBlog, on Too Good to be True
"A refreshing subversion of the traditional memoir."
from "12 Electrifying Memoirs You Might Have Missed," by Kristin Rawls, The Christian Science Monitor, on Too Good to be True
"Even with its unflinching candor, Too Good To Be True is ultimately hopeful and even optimistic, especially as it extends to Anastas’ relationship with his son."
Nathan Rabin, The Onion A.V. Club, on Too Good to be True
"Anastas' humor and self-deprecation put you on his side, make it easy to forgive the failures he so readily cops to."
J. Nicole Jones, The Los Angeles Review of Books, on Too Good to be True
“An unflinching account... marked by financial and romantic uncertainty, [Anastas’] challenges and frustrations will be familiar to anyone who has ever dodged a debt collector, borrowed money from friends, or felt they were falling irreversibly behind.”
Michael McGrath, The Billfold, on Too Good to be True
“A wrenching story of failure, in literature and love.”
Joanna Scutts, Biographile, on Too Good to be True
“Too Good to Be True should be required reading for all creative writing MFA candidates and, come to think of it, anybody who is engaged to be married.”
Amie Barrodale, Bookforum, on Too Good to be True
“Scenes of a ’70s childhood, complete with pot-smoking parents and 'a lot of adult nudity' yield unexpected sweetness and humor in a book that’s often searingly painful.”
Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe, on Too Good to be True
“Anastas’ regrets are ornate… his solution simple and sweet.”
Catherine Holmes, Charleston Post & Courier, on Too Good to be True
“In this taut memoir, Anastas writes about his admittedly colossal failures and the myriad indignities of poverty… The train wreck (and it is a grisly one) isn’t the only compelling thing here, however, since Anastas can craft a world-class sentence.”
Nicholas Mancusi, The Daily Beast, on Too Good to be True
“A remarkably clear-eyed search for the deeper and more distant causes of a bad patch that extended itself much too far. The book is taut, sad, and soulful.”
Thomas Mallon, The Millions, on Too Good to be True
“This memoir is undeniably impossible to put down.”
Meganne Fabrega, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on Too Good to be True
“It’s all very funny and a joy to read, but what lifts this memoir from good to outstanding is that the humor and the darkness are merely a patina. Under the irony there is no irony. Under the panic lies a remorseful heart, a steady determination to figure this out and become a better person.”
Deb Olin Unferth, New York Times Book Review, on Too Good to be True
“In Too Good to Be True, Anastas’ raw, witty, painfully honest voice turns crushing failure into a surprisingly engrossing read.”
Emma Morrissey, Oprah.com, on Too Good to be True
"Self-pity has never been so bracing—or hilarious."
Town & Country, on Too Good to be True
"One of the most acclaimed memoirs of 2012."
The Week, on Too Good to be True
“In this fine memoir, [Anastas] rediscovers love and rewrites his own story.”
Whole Living, on Too Good to be True
“Too Good to Be True is smart and honest and searching…so plaintive and raw that most writers (and many readers) will finish it with heart palpitations."
Dwight Garner, The New York Times, on Too Good to be True
“Anastas has written one of the most memorable memoirs we've read all year.”
Sarah Weinman, Publishers Lunch, on Too Good to be True
"'Enjoyed' is the wrong word for this book. You don't enjoy eating a bag of glass shards mixed in with bloody pulpy bits of a human heart. Enjoyment, in this case, is irrelevant —I devoured this book not in spite of the pain, but because of it. This is a messy, vital, powerful story. I finished it and felt covered in the debris of a life."
Charles Yu, author of How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, on Too Good to be True
"A spectacular account of mind-blowing failure. It is short and it is beautiful and you must buy it."
Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story, on Too Good to be True
"I love this book so much. Which is weird, considering that it consists in watching Anastas take blow after blow, before being battered and receiving more blows. But you won't pity the author, who leans into even the most difficult situations with wonder and boundless empathy; instead you'll just wish he could narrate your own disasters to you, so you could see the art in the salvage."
Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances, on Too Good to be True
"A lot of books get called things like 'brutally honest,' but few books are really as brutal as Too Good To Be True. Benjamin Anastas has taken disheartening failure and turned it into searing, soaring success."
Daniel Handler, on Too Good to be True
"The failure is real, the voice is raw, the story is haunting."
Jonathan Franzen, on Too Good to be True
"A wonderful, overlooked novel gets a new life... An Underachiever’s Diary may have been the funniest, most underappreciated book of the 1990s. And that makes this new reprint most welcome....William’s voice is sharp and hilariously scathing; he comes off like a latter-day Holden Caulfield. But his riffs and observations add up to a surprisingly tender narrative — a coming-of-age story that’s well worth retelling."
Very Short List, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"Bitterly funny...The book’s veils of irony are light enough to charm even the coolest reader, and its emotional details...ring true."
The New Yorker, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"Recalls Frederick Exley’s masterpiece of the genre, A Fan’s Notes."
The New York Times Book Review, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"Very funny...a masterpiece of controlled failure in which the narrator fails to deliver on every front."
New York Post, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"Fantastic... A fun, funny book... Diary is the work of a careful, thoughtful writer, one gifted enough to make what must have been hard-fought prose seem effortless."
Detroit Free Press, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"There are just the right amounts of candor, wit, puerile humor and perverse irreverence."
Publishers Weekly, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"The sly fiction’s greatest strength is the finely tuned voice Anastas has created for William, who takes us (in a non-linear way) through his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood without ever faltering in his often droll, deadpan delivery.... In our culture, where fame, celebrity, wealth and other forms of empty achievement are overly venerated, it is bracing to meet this thoughtful narrator."
Los Angeles Times, on An Underachiever’s Diary
"This is the rare novel that can get away with putting the ending at the beginning ... Anastas’s gifts for description and characterization make this work a literary as well as a satirical masterpiece."
Salt Lake City Deseret News, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance
"A surprisingly seductive read ... Every word communicates a kind of fearful joy."
The New York Times Book Review, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance
"[The novel] breathes a quiet faith. And it’s the best kind of faith, one that’s loving, inclusive, and abundantly aware of shared human foibles."
The Washington Post Book World, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance
"Artful ... Through it all, one happy constant is the author’s gimlet prose. In just his second book, Anastas shows a rare ability to empathize with his main character [and] a large but never unwieldy minor ones and nail the walk-ons in a sentence."
The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance
"Anastas is not only clever but also brilliant and perceptive ... Faithful Narrative is the rare kind of book that compels its readers to underline certain passages and read them aloud to friends."
Hartford Courant, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance
"A mesmerizing fiction ... A scathing satirical indictment of what, for better or worse, can be called the state of the American soul."
Chicago Tribune, on The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance