First Lines: Held van beroep (reread)

Upon finishing The Count of Monte Cristo I needed something light to get ready for the next big read I had planned. Adriaan Jaeggi’s Held van beroep was perfect for that.

Ten years ago, I picked up this book because I was becoming fairly obsessed with a balladeer. Their song Swim with Sam was a bit of a hit, and based on this book.

So if someone wants to know
And asks you where I am
You say you saw me go for a swim with Sam

Held van beroep a story about family. Sam’s family. Sam is fifteen, likes to swim, but doesn’t really have an idea what to do with his life. So he goes swimming, to clear his head, to make sense of things, and to deal with whatever life throws at him.

The first part of the book is hilarious funny. It’s filled with sharp observations, and clever bits, like the one about how Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edgar Reisbureaus are one the same, on account of English and Dutch being two languages, which means that things that sound the same aren’t necessarily the same thing.

But in the second half, after Sam’s mother dies, the book seems to switch gears. It’s not nearly as clever and funny, and Sam, understandably, mopes around a lot. Don’t get me wrong, its still a cracking good read, but there seems to be something there that I’m not quite grasping. Maybe I should do another reread sometime down the line.

Book read
Adriaan Jaeggi — Held van Beroep
Book read
Laten we vooral dankbaar zijn dat onze voorouders van grote gezinnen hielden, anders waren we allang uitgestorven.