by Steve Haruch
Probably best known for his satirical novel Bear v. Shark, Chris Bachelder has also written other things. For example, the fake Amazon.com-like reviews of his beard — “Even though Mr. Bachelder won’t let you touch his beard, his beard will touch you!! See it TODAY!!!!” — that he wrote for McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern are, in a way, their own endorsement of this reading.
His appearance at Vanderbilt is part of the university’s Visiting Writers Series, which will also feature poet Eavan Bolan on April 10, and novelist Emma Straub on April 17. See vanderbilt.edu/creativewriting for details, and read his beard reviews after the jump.
BY Chris Bachelder- - - -
Average Customer Rating: * (Based on 9 reviews)
• Must-see beard!!!
Reviewer: A. Dawson from San Antonio, TX, USA
This is the best beard I’ve seen all year. It’s one of those beards where you just never want it to end. If you get a chance, CHECK OUT THIS BEARD. You won’t be sorry. I guarantee it.
Reviewer: Monster Man from Baltimore, MD, USA
I see a lot of beards, and I usually really like first beards, so I was excited about seeing Mr. Bachelder’s beard, especially after a friend of mine recommended it to me. But I’m sorry to say that this beard was a big disappointment. You can see that it has potential, but it’s a little patchy and it just isn’t doing anything new or interesting.
• Not for everyone
Reviewer: Melissa T. from Eugene, OR, USA
This is one of those beards that not everyone is going to love, but I think it will find a cult following. It’s a really funny and quirky beard. It’s not completely full, but that almost makes it better somehow. Yes it’s uneven and things get stuck in it, but it’s a first beard people! Congratulations, Mr. Bachelder, I can hardly wait for your next beard!!
Reviewer: JD Vulture from Greenville, NC, USA
Oh my God this is an incredible beard!!! I saw a small part of Chris Bachelder’s beard on the Internet and I just had to go see the whole thing. I was blown away. It’s a hilarious beard, but it’s also sad and touching. This girl beside me was crying because the beard was so emotional. I can’t do it justice. Just do yourself a favor and see this beard. It’s an instant classic, and I know you’ll love it as much as I did.
• Don’t believe the hype
Reviewer: Paul Russell from Lexington, KY, USA
I am baffled by the hype surrounding this beard. I decided to check the beard out after I read reviews calling it a “daring” beard, a “shockingly original” beard, “one of our best young beards.” Some reviewers went so far as to compare it to Vonnegut’s first beard. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. With Vonnegut, you never lose sight of the integrity and sincerity underlying the beard, but Bachelder’s beard is just a tangled joke, and not even very funny, much less deep or substantive. Right now, the last thing this country needs is more smart-ass facial hair. At a time like this we need authentic beards. Bachelder’s beard is the same beard we’ve been seeing for the last fifteen or twenty years, and it’s getting old. Either do it right or shave.
• Not great, not horrible
Reviewer: RW from Jacksonville, FL, USA
Let’s not get carried away on either end. It’s not a National Beard Award winner, but it’s not trash, either. Bachelder’s got a decent beard. It has a certain ragged charm, though I agree with others who have said it could have used a trim.
Reviewer: Jennifer K. from Rochester, NY, USA
I just can’t believe what passes for a good beard these days. I teach junior high English, and I’ve seen better beards on my eighth-graders. Don’t waste your time. I’ll take Hemingway’s beard every time over today’s beards.
• A first look at an up-and-coming beard
Reviewer: Night Train from Silver City, CO, USA
Even though Mr. Bachelder won’t let you touch his beard, his beard will touch you!! See it TODAY!!!!
• Surprisingly deep
Reviewer: M-Dog from Tempe, AZ, USA
I was prepared to hate this beard after I found out about the huge advance that Bachelder got for it. And to be honest, I didn’t think much of the beard when I first saw it, and I almost didn’t finish looking at it. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. This beard has a way of sneaking up on you. Before I knew it, I was completely engrossed. It has a deceptively simple appearance, but this beard is actually very complicated and challenging. If you devote some time and careful attention to Bachelder’s beard, it will pay you back, but you have to be willing to work.