The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of How I Became a Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely

This book had me laughing out loud, but more in the beginning than in the latter half. Still, it’s pretty funny, and I’m going to recommend it on that basis alone.

The protagonist and narrator of How I Became a Famous Novelist is Pete Tarslaw, bored 20-something regretting the end of his relationship with Polly Pawson. That ending comes into sharp focus when he learns that Polly is about to get married — and invited him to the wedding. How can he make her regret her decision? Let’s see … he could call and tell her that he realized he screwed up but understands why she left and wishes her a happy married life, making her wonder to the end of her days if maybe she dumped Pete right before he matured into the even-tempered man she always wanted. But what kind of story would that make? No, Pete decides that living well is the best revenge, and he somehow gets it into his head that if he’s a bestselling author, he can show up at her wedding and steal all the attention from her.

Would that it were so easy. But I digress.

Pete begins to analyze the elements of today’s bestselling novels, which is a hilarious exercise and one of the funniest parts of the book. In fact, I think the section I liked best was when Pete had not yet published anything. He is loopy, loony, and determined, even though he hasn’t the slightest clue what he’s doing. Then, in an impossibly short timespan, he is published. The rest of the books is sort of mildly humorous instead of uproariously funny, but it’s still probably better than what you last read. I am therefore strongly recommending this book.

As for animals, there are no animal characters to speak of. Pete babbles about overfed koi, hunting in the Australian outback, lie-detecting horses, a 3-legged basset hound, and farm animals, but never more than a sentence or so about each. There’s a brief unpleasant image of a tiger, but aside from that, the book is SAFE for animal lovers. Enjoy!

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July 17, 2010 - Posted by | beach book, Book Reviews, humor, satire | , , ,

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