Super Sad True Love Story Summary

Gary Shteyngart

Super Sad True Love Story

  • Plot overview and analysis written by an experienced literary critic.
  • Full study guide for this title currently under development.
  • To be notified when we launch a full study guide, please contact us.

Super Sad True Love Story Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.

Super Sad True Love Story explores the superficiality of modern life, society’s obsession with youthfulness, and the dehumanizing effects of technology through the tale of an unlikely romance. Set in a dystopian future, the story unfolds through the two main characters’ inner thoughts, recorded in the form of diary entries and online messages. The novel opens with 39-year-old Lenny Abramov declaring in his diary that he does not intend to die. Instead, he plans to live forever, supported through biomedical technology from the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation, where he works. Lenny is returning from Rome, where he met Eunice Park, a 24-year-old Korean-American. They met at a party and left together before having a sexual encounter. Online, Eunice also reports this to her friend, known by the screen name “Grillbitch.” She receives a message from her mother expressing her disappointment in her, from her sister saying that she is protesting the ruling Bipartisan Party, and, finally,from Lenny suggesting that they get together when she returns to America. In his diary, Lenny reports researching Eunice online, and concluding that Eunice’s father probably beats her. When the plane lands back in America, a man is removed by the National Guard and a tank waits on the runway.

Eunice’s messages reveal that she is feeling insecure and abandoned by Ben, a boy she had been dating. Meanwhile, Lenny’s diary reveals his concerns that he will be made redundant by his boss, Joshie Goldmann, a man in his sixties who appears in his twenties because of the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation’s anti-aging technology. Instead, he is demoted, reflecting economic pressure resulting from America becoming bankrupt. Eunice tells Grillbitch that she broke up with Ben because he was too attractive for her and likes Lenny because he is kind, even though she finds him physically repulsive. Meanwhile, Lenny is upset because Eunice has not replied and because he is struggling financially so may not be able to buy immortality. His friends put him on “RateMe Plus,” an app where people’s attractiveness is rated. Lenny is deemed unattractive so he drinks heavily before drunkenly confessing to loving Eunice, which his friends record and post online. Eunice receives an email from Lenny apologizing for this, but she says that she liked it and would like to stay at Lenny’s apartment when she gets back to America. When she does, Lenny welcomes her and shows her New York. He volunteers to meet her family but Eunice refuses, upsetting Lenny. Eunice does meet Lenny’s parents, and they are delighted that he has found a partner, although Lenny realizes that his mother and Eunice both think he is immature.The political situation worsens and clashes erupt between the National Guard and angry citizens, and Eunice grows worried about her sister’s political involvement.

Some of Lenny’s friends criticize his choice of partner, particularly his penchant for Asian women and the fact that she is so young, which is linked to his concerns about growing old. Despite this, Eunice and Lenny have sexual intercourse for the first time and seem to be relatively stable. Eventually, Eunice even allows Lenny to meet her parents although insists that he pretend to be a friend rather than a lover. When they go over for dinner, Lenny recognizes that Eunice, her sister, and her mother are all afraid of her father and suspects that this is why she fled to Rome in the first place. After they leave, Eunice’s parents deduce that she and Lenny were romantically involved and are angered that she is with an unattractive man, although their hatred for him only increases her love. However, her messages also reveal that she has been spending time with an attractive anti-government activist named David. When they attend a party hosted by Joshie, Eunice and Joshie bond over art and consider taking an art class together. Later, Eunice confesses to Grillbitch that she is deeply attracted to Joshie.

While Lenny and Eunice are away at a party, the international financial situation worsens and political violence breaks out in New York. Eunice wants to go to Tompkins Park in case her sister and friend are there but Lenny refuses. Joshie says that America is on the brink of collapse and tells Lenny and Eunice to get home while they can. Lenny convinces his friends Amy and Noah to come with them but their ferry is sunk by a helicopter. A week later, Lenny is still in shock from Amy and Noah’s deaths and Eunice is angry with him for refusing to let her go to Tompkins Park. Despite this, he returns to work and learns that America is being divided up for international investors, and the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation is at the forefront of the creative economy and likely to invest.Things improve between Lenny and Eunice, although Eunice gets excited when Joshie messages her confessing his attraction.Later, the reader learns from another message that they had sex after attending an art class. Eunice’s reply states that she regrets her actions and does not want a romantic relationship with Joshie. Joshie is upset and belittles Lenny.

America is still unstable and there is still violence on the streets but the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation has grown increasingly powerful. Joshie uses this power to help Lenny safely travel to check his parents are safe. While Lenny is away, Joshie gets Eunice’s family moved to New York, impressing her parents who tell her to leave Lenny and date Joshie instead.Lenny gives up on immortality and accepts his aging, although he feels distant from Eunice. Eventually, a key reason for this is revealed when Joshie confesses to the affair. Devastated, Lenny breaks up with Eunice. The novel ends several years later, with Lenny now the successful author of “The Lenny Abramov Diaries.” Joshie’s anti-aging technology failed and he aged rapidly so Eunice left him and he is now dying alone. Finally, putting the past behind him, Lenny changes his name to Larry and tells himself that both Eunice and “Lenny” have died.