Tuesday, September 22, 2009


How I Became A Famous Novelist, Steve Hely, Black Cat, 2009, 322 pp

This one is truly funny. A spoof on the publishing industry that skewers everyone from the authors who write books intentionally following trends to create a blockbuster to the agents, publishers, reviewers and readers who encourage it all. Hely's main character, Pete Tarslaw, is your usual modern day slacker/anti-hero, with a twist. When he learns that the college girlfriend who dumped him in senior year is getting married, a desire for revenge gets him off the couch.

He "studies up" on bestsellers, Amazon reviews and the incomes of bestselling, blockbuster writing authors; boils it all down statistically; gets some drugs from his roommate that bring on an extreme hyper-activity; and writes a "bestseller." Due to certain connections and the high state of perplexity in the publishing industry, this works for him. He becomes a famous novelist.

But revenge is tricky business. Also Pete Tarslaw is far from adept when it comes to human relationships. He has to eat crow in the end and even learns the lesson he needed to learn.

If only all comedy could be this good. If only there were more books to ease my worried mind once in a while with a good laugh. If only dysfunctional creepy assholes actually learned their lessons. Sigh. OK. Back to literary fiction.

(This book is available in paperback by special order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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