Karo, Aaron 1979-
KARO, Aaron 1979-
PERSONAL: Born 1979, in Plainview, NY; son of Al (a toy salesperson) and Helene (an educational program coordinator) Karo. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. (business, magna cum laude), 2001.
CAREER: Author. Also worked variously on Wall Street and as a stand-up comedian.
Ruminations on College Life, Fireside/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Working on a television sitcom and writing a screenplay.
SIDELIGHTS: Aaron Karo only meant to send out a few e-mail letters to a group of select friends one night when he was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. However, his friends enjoyed Karo's writing so much that they each sent out his letters to each of their friends, and so on and so on until at the last count there were 1,500 subscribers to what has become Karo's online newsletter. During the four years while he was in school, Karo wrote down his thoughts about college life, or what a reporter for CNN.com referred to as "the less erudite side of college life—all-nighters, cheap beer and wild parties." Then his newsletter, which Karo calls Ruminations on College Life was sold to a publisher, and his collection of newsletters became a book.
Karo went to college to learn all he could about the academic side of business. He has admitted, however, that academics were not the only thing on his mind. "I partied like a rock star," Karo wrote on his personal Web site. After partying all weekend, he tossed and turned in bed, trying to get enough sleep to refurbish his body and mind so he would be ready for classes on Monday. It was while he tried to coax his mind to drift into sleep that "all these funny observations and stories about college started bouncing around in my head," he wrote.
Karo eventually graduated from college magna cum laude and found a job on Wall Street. However, he was curious about the collection of newsletters he had accumulated and wondered if they could be turned into a television show. Instead, a literary agent suggested that his writing might make an interesting book. Ruminations on College Life was published in 2002, and Karo quit his Wall Street job so he could focus full-time on promoting his book.
On Fictionwise online, a reviewer maintained that it is through Karo's sense of comedy, his analysis, and his anecdotes that he is able to capture "the college experience like never before." This seems to be the overall response to Ruminations. As Robert Thompson commented in the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, Karo's book is "a story that's being told in the language and the medium that college is . . . experienced."
What are some of the topics that Karo covers in Ruminations? He classifies different ways students walk to class, such as "slow walkers" who hang out in groups and make everyone climbing the stairs behind them late for class. He also identifies those students who always sit in the front row of class as the same students who make flashcards to help them study, and those students who nod their heads while instructors lecture. Dorm life is filled with hazards, according to Karo, who dislikes the musical cacophony blasting from dormroom stereos, and he expresses annoyance with the inability to temper the blast of hot water from the showers in dorm bathrooms. Kristine Huntley in Booklist called Karo "dead-on" when it comes to describing the different kinds of students one might find on campus, and she stated that his book also offers an "often-accurate and funny picture" of what it is like for many young adults to live at college.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of Ruminations on College Life, p. 1897.
New York Post, August 1, 2002, Farrah Weinstein, "The Ruminator: Rowdy 'Jewish Chris Rock' Blows Fans Away."
Record (Bergen County, NJ), September 5, 2002, Eric Tucker, "Playing Hard (and Working Hard too, Sometimes) in College" p. F06.
Aaron Karo Home page,http://www.aaronkaro.com (December 9, 2002).
CNN Web site,http://www.cnn.com/ (December 9, 2002), "Grad Gives Inside Scoop on College Life in Debut Book."