Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Book Review: How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
Foolishly, I sat on this book for a year, even though it had strong recommendations and was supposed to be hilarious. My loss because it was everything promised and more!
It's the story of Pete, a 20-something who works at an essay writing company, and is dismayed when his former love decides to get married. He plans to prove himself (and hopefully one-up the groom) by becoming a bestselling/famous novelist. He studies the bestseller list (the included faux NYT list is nearly the funniest thing I've ever read), comes up with a list of plot properties that a bestselling novel ought to include, and then goes about to do just that, writing The Tornado Ashes Club, a mash-up for The Bridges of Madison County, The Notebook, Band of Brothers, and All the Pretty Horses. Pete is nakedly honest with us about his reasons for writing his novel, and his goals (money, fame, rubbing people's faces in it). But naturally things get out of control, and nothing ends up quite as he hoped.
I was laughing out loud throughout this book. In his satire, Mr. Hely skewers the book publishing industry pretty accurately. Filled with knowing irony and biting humor, this book should intrigue anyone interested in publishing.