My Life as an Idoit
My Life as an Idoit
In Trainwreck, his weird and witty memoir of utter dysfunction, Nichols gives an irreverent look at how one "idoit" made good. Bounced from elite private schools, he limps through college, earning the nickname "Iron Lung" for his uncanny ability to inhale from a four-foot bong without coughing. By the skin of his teeth, he graduates and lands a job on Wall Street...as a moving target for coked-up traders tossing order cards at his head. Bumming money from his parents to pay for drugs and prostitutes, Nichols hits bottom before he discovers Alcoholics Anonymous, the perfect place to develop material for his new career in stand-up. Several disastrous twists and turns later, he finally makes good when a crazy stroke of luck leads to his story being turned into a feature film by the same production company behind indie hits like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Savages.
Hilarious and oddly inspiring, Trainwreck is proof that a life disastrously lived can still turn out beyond anybody's wildest imaginings.
Writer Jeff Nichols was a TRAINWRECK
Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics For Discussion
- “I have overcome very little to accomplish nothing” (page 1). Do you agree or disagree with the author’s description of himself? What do you think is the author’s greatest accomplishment? What is his greatest flaw?
- What were the four reasons that led Jeff to Alcoholics Anonymous? Which drug does he consider the most dangerous and why?
- Despite all the author’s flaws, is he a likeable character? Can you relate to any of his experiences? What are his good qualities?
- Why do New Balance sneakers paralyze Jeff? What other phobias does he have?
- “I suppose fishing satisfies some hunter-gatherer instinct in me” (page 103). Discuss the author’s relationship with fishing and how it has affected his life.
- Why do you think the author wrote this book? Do you think he is trying to shine a light on learning disabilities and addictions?
- Jeff visits several mental health professionals. Do any of them help him? What do you think is at the root of the author’s problems?
- What is the lesson in the yellow shirt story? Which of his stories do you find the most shocking?
- What is Jeff’s view of Ritalin? What is your opinion about the prescription of this drug?
- In the aftermath of the house fire, Jeff notes that he became “detac