How I Became a Famous Novelist
by Steve Hely
Reviewed by Belle
This book tells the story of Pete Tarslaw, a guy who hasn’t quite recovered from being dumped by his girlfriend back in college. When he hears she’s engaged, he decides to write a best-selling novel so that at her wedding she’ll see how cool he is and regret ever having let him go. He studies the best-seller list and the people who buy those books, decides on key, sell-able ingredients for his story and characters, and then sets out to become rich and famous. His goal: “Write a popular book. Do not waste energy making it a good book.”
‘How I Became a Famous Novelist’ is funny and clever. I loved Hely’s jabs at contemporary fiction – “lyrical” prose is one thing that often drives me NUTS in novels these days (Markus Zusak’s writing in The Book Thief is a prime example –blecch!) and Pete Tarslaw’s intentionally and ridiculously flowery language is hilarious. I also loved the completely unromantic way Pete approaches writing his book. Early on he decides (page 73):
“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 hangings, should get very little credit.”
I found this book immensely enjoyable. It’s original and fun and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for entertainment and/or distraction and/or an interesting look at what makes a book great.
Thanks Belle! Check out Belle's Elbows.