by Steve Hely, published by Black Cat – paperback original imprint of Grove Atlantic – 2009
There is much humor here, but this isn’t really a funny book, it’s one that tries to be funny, and succeeds some of the time. That could just be me. It’s been said more than once that I don’t have much of a sense of humor. Still, I understand how to laugh and my funny bone gets tickled now and then, though that didn’t happen often while reading this book.
Pete Tarslaw doesn’t like work. When he loses his job ghosting college entrance essays, he decides he can write a best-seller. He wants the book to have some literary aspects, but understands too much of that will turn off the bestseller crowd. He comes up with a plot, embellishes it with every gimmick he can think of, then sits down and writes the book.
Through a series of happy accidents the book is published and does make it onto the NY Times bestseller list. In the course of this happening, and afterwards, Tarslaw goes through Series of situations involving his grandmother, authors, critics, a strange roommate, talk show hosts and other authors, of whom he’s either in awe or feels a complete lack of respect. The book is episodic, some of it funny, some not so much.
To those who laughed and chortled throughout this, I say “good for you”. To those not sure whether to try the book, I suggest reading a few pages before buying. Then again, there’s always the library, which is where I got my copy. It goes back tomorrow.