Misfit. I found myself stuck between laughing and crying as I read Walter Kirn’s memoir, Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever. The book covers Kirn’s school years through Princeton, and along the way, Walter learned to win prizes, but missed most other elements in the acquisition of what would be considered a quality education. To those who say education is wasted on the young, this book can become a bible. Kirn learns the sounds to create the impression of being educated, and that leads him to awards and recognition. He’s a misfit at Princeton, and the bulk of Lost in the Meritocracy covers those years of drug-induced malaise and disconnection. Kirn’s fine writing proves that somewhere along the way he has acquired many of the elements of what we consider education. Like many of us, he may not have acquired those elements from the expected places, like fine schools.
Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)