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How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

By Alli | Books | September 10, 2010 | Comments ()

By Alli | Books | September 10, 2010 |


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I picked up How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely in the new fiction section of my library and I found it to be quite a humorous and entertaining read. Who among us has not imagined showing up an ex, and at their own wedding nonetheless. That is the basic premise of this novel, written by a Letterman staffer (and though I won't hold it against him, he also writes for "American Dad").

Our narrator is Pete Tarslaw, a slacker who writes college application essays for wealthy students and aspires to do as little as possible. Upon receiving a mass email informing him of his college girlfriend's upcoming nuptials, Pete decides that the best way to impress people at the wedding and "win" the breakup is to become a famous novelist.

Pete attempts to achieve this in the easiest way possible; he makes lists of all the things that readers tend to go for and aims to cram all of it into the one book. Pete looks at a few of the famous authors that inhabit the alternate universe of this book and tries to replicate their success. He even goes as far to say that the most difficult part of writing the novel was actually just sitting down and putting all the words down, as he is quite lazy. The way that he overcomes his lack of motivation involves his roommate, who works in pharmaceuticals.

Through his contacts he is able to get the novel published, although his friend admits that she can no longer tell a book that is actually good apart from a book that is a piece of crap, but she thinks that Pete's novel will do well. Through some good luck and the fact that no press is bad press, the book does achieve success. However, we all know that empty success does not bring happiness, so Pete must deal with these ethical dilemmas with pleasant results.

Who among us has not dreamed of writing that bestseller that would allow us to live in a cabin in the woods typing away while our bank accounts grow and grow. This book gives us a comical glimpse into what that might be like and the sad realities that come along with it.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Alli's reviews, check out Alli's Cannonball Read.



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