Being There by Jerzy Kosinski

I had heard that this was an interesting book from my boyfriend a couple times, and was heading up to NYC, so I needed some small entertainment. I tossed Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There in my bag, despite the “it’ll only take you 5 minutes to read” warnings I received. He was right; the book is incredibly short and only took me a small amount of time to read. But it was fantastic.

Being There is about Chance, a gardener. He has gardened for his entire life at one house, for one old man. The man never had him educated in anything but gardening, so Chance can not read or right, nor does he have a license, pay stubs, or a birth certificate. Chance doesn’t seem to really exist. When the old man dies without a will, Chance is told to pack up and get out, so he puts on one of the old man’s suits and heads out.

Soon after starting his life in the world, Chance (who I believe is in his late 40’s) has part of his leg injured by a car. The owner of the car has him come home with her, as she has doctors there, and they will take care of him.

EE, the woman who owns the car, and her husband are influential people. So much so that the President comes to visit them. He also speaks with Chance while he’s there, and quotes him in a speech later. This leads to more appearances and Chance the gardener becomes Chauncey Gardiner, a man whose presence is necessary at social events.

It escalates into some wild situations, and that made the book so much fun. The book refers to Chance as an enigma, because he doesn’t often understand exactly what is happening to him, but he rolls with it. It’s so interesting to read the happenings, but I don’t want to spoil them because you should read this.

Being There is just under 120 pages of a truly fun book. I had a blast reading it, and wish there was more to it, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.











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