Three years ago, I started a book club with friends in Wichita. My friend, Amy, told me that when it was her turn to pick that she was going to pick How I Became A Famous Novelist.
I promptly went and bought the book. Cut to Amy dropping out of book club. Cut to current time…I finally read the book!!
How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
Pete Tarslaw is a writter who is making a living writing college essays for rich kids. He’s talented, but apathetic. He receives a wedding announcement that his college girlfriend (Polly) is getting married. Tarslaw decides to write a best-selling novel just to spite his ex-girlfriend and show her up at her wedding!
How I Became A Famous Novelist is definitely cynical, much like myself, so I enjoyed it! It’s funny and shocking to think (and know it’s probably true) that some authors just methodically crank out novels that they know will be popular but…void of feeling.
Tarslaw has no dreams of writing the great American novels.
His Goals As A Novelist:
2. Financial Comfort
3. Stately Home By Ocean (Or Scenic Lake)
4. Humiliate Polly At Her Wedding
One part that I really enjoyed especially since I just blogged about TV getting in the of my blogging:
“Writing a novel–actually picking the words and filling in paragraphs–is a tremendous pain in the ass. Now that TV’s so good and the Internet is an endless forest of distraction, it’s damn near impossible. That should be taken into account when ranking the all-time greats. Somebody like Charles Dickens, for example, who had nothing better to do except eat mutton and attend public hangins, should get very little credit.”
In a nutshell, Tarslaw researches many popular novels and finds a theme:
“You invent the awesomest hero you can think of, pit him against dark, mysterious forces, and let a secret spill out as he crisscrosses the globe. You write about something that people know is important but that they don’t really understand, and you make it seem diabolical. You don’t bury your action under a lot of nuanced characters or artful prose.”
The Da Vinci Code anyone?? Which I loved, by the way.
I enjoyed this book for it’s tongue-in-cheek humor. Hely is a comedy TV writer for David Letterman and it seems fitting. A humorous read that you’ll enjoy, but won’t love. And I think that’s exactly what Hely was going for.
3.5 out of 5 stars