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Book Review: How I Became a Famous Novelist, Steve Hely

October 13, 2009

In a word, hilarious. I haven’t laughed this much reading a book in years.

Peter Tarslaw is a recently graduated English major working for a fly-by-night college essay “polishing/editing/writing” company. Writing essays by day and drinking cheap beer by night, he might have settled in for years of the same. But, in quick succession, his former girlfriend, Polly, announces her wedding plans, his employer folds and lays him off, and he sees an interview with Preston Brooks, best selling author of books with titles like Kindness to Birds (description in a faux New York Times Book Review: “On a journey across the Midwest, a downsized factory worker named Gabriel touches the lives of several people wounded by life.”).

Peter takes this as a call to action and decides to manufacture a best seller. His adventures navigating a world of pharmaceutically enhanced writing, desperate book publishers, horny writers, book tours, campus visits, Polly’s wedding, and a meeting with Preston Brooks himself are both hilarious and sadly plausible. He is a wonderfully self-aware, but clueless narrator, and his journey to–well, you’ll need to judge for your self if it’s success or failure–is a hoot. Highly recommended.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for the tip. I love a funny read



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