[...] When the day comes that the internet commentariat cleaves into opposing sides for war of attrition over this book and film, it will in part be a war premised on misunderstanding. On one side will stand people rightfully flabbergasted at the adulation for a book that, by any reading of the mechanics of literary fiction, basically heaves.
On the other side will stand people who need to see their experience of media—their texts and enthusiasms—validated as a greater myth, and to see themselves as a part of it. [...]
Even then, Cline himself admits that this is not enough. If there is an ultimate message to this book—if there is something that might doom the movie to little more than an automated nostalgia ride—it is this: Go the fuck outside. But Cline cannot square how the endless layers of preceding intertextual mimicry prepare one for that. He doesn’t even attempt an explanation so much as surrender to the inevitability of someday exiting the inner world. All this was prologue, and all of it was important, somehow, but eventually we all must emerge into the daylight.