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Boy Wonder

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In a turbo-charged romp through the Hollywood of everyone's wildest dreams, Boy Wonder follows the career of Shark Trager—rebel filmmaker and megasuccessful producer—from his birth in 1950 at a drive-in movie theater and his meteoric rise to the pinnacle of Hollywood power, to his equally spectacular descent into obscurity.
Paperback, 1 page
Published January 2nd 1990 by Signet (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.46  · 
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 ·  213 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Kurt Reichenbaugh
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beat-other
Wow, where to start with this one...The back of my paperback copy says it's something of a cross between CITIZEN KANE and BLUE VELVET. I guess that's as good a hook as any, but really it's so much more than that.

Simply put, it's an oral history of Hollywood producer Shark Trager, who produced mega-blockbuster films with titles like SEX KILL a GO-GO, WHITE DESERT, MONDO JET SET, HAIL!, and BLUE LIGHTS to name a few. Each character reveals more about themselves as the bio of Shark progresses thro
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest books I have ever read. It's trashy but it will make you laugh. Not for the squeamish or puritanical. If I had $60M (make that $200M), I would make this into a mini-series for HBO. Told in first-person narrative from a variety of Hollywood degenerates, this book will someday get the following it deserves. Unfortunately, JRB is no longer with us, but this book is a cult classic.
Victor Castillo Rodriguez
Aunque aquí aparezca como la tercera, es la cuarta vez que lo leo, primera vez en español. Y sigue siendo un viaje loquísimo y espectacular por un Hollywood... ¿ficticio?
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: film lovers
I am surprised and confused that this book seems to have disappeared from mass consciousness. It is incredible.

Reasons to love this book:

Like the recent Chuck Palahniuk novel Rant, it is written in an oral tradition with many narrators covering the life of one man from the late fifties to the late eighties. Even though it is not credited by Chuck, I'm pretty sure he must have been directly influenced by it.

It is a hilarious, truthful and searing parody of the Hollywood film industry.

It feels epi
DrCrower Books
Brindo por Shark Trager y por haber traído al mundo algunas de mis películas preferidas, desde "Desierto blanco" -ya quisiera Malick haberle llegado a la suela de sus zapatos con su muy meliflua -(Dios, espero que exista esta palabra) "Malas tierras"- o ese "Luz azul" que llegó mucho más lejos de lo que el ingenuo Spielberg pudiera haber llegado nunca, incluso tengo cierta debilidad por "Mondo Jet Set" y espero que Criterion se anime finalmente a editar ese "Director's Cut" de "Ola roja" que -so ...more
Dani Morell
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una sàtira salvatge i ferotge de la indústria de Hollywood, plena de personatges impossibles d'oblidar. Sexe, drogues i Rock and roll, però sobretot cinema, desmesura i mala llet. Tan divertida i xocant que es llegeix en quatre tardes malgrat les seves més de 500 pàgines. Si existís una convenció de fans d'aquesta novel·la, hi aniria cada any. Però millor llegiu el que en diu el Sr. VCR (que és qui me la va recomanar), en aquesta ressenya que subscric al 100% ...more
Jose Sanz
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And you shine just like a star
When you're giving the best of you
And you cry and you're wondering why
And who will take the rest of you?"

It dont rain in Beverly Hills (Dean & Britta)

No es una sátira de Hollywood y el cine mainstream americano. Bueno, sí. Pero no sólo eso.

Con la excusa de su estructura a lo Please Kill Me mockumentado (esto es, de construcción de un relato a través de los testimonios de quienes conocieron al protagonista, de concatenación de anécdotas tragisórdidas a lo el Hollywo
Victor Castillo Rodriguez
Una de las sátiras más demoledoras sobre Hollywood, en forma de historia oral en la que se narra la vida, auge, caida, redención y muerte del egomaníaco productor Shark Trager. Baker es uno de esos autores que consiguen aunar lo trash con la calidad literaria y es una lástima que su temprana muerte nos privara de más historias como ésta. Desde ahora es una de mis novelas favoritas.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book.
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all literate humans
Recommended to rina by: old boyfriend
So much goes on in this book that I will not even attempt to summarize. At it's essence the book is the great American novel that all authors (American ones at least) want to write. It is dark. Very dark. Rich and flawless on all levels.

A boyfriend lent it to me when it first came out and then took it back when I had finished reading it to pass on to someone else. A couple years later I wanted to reread it. Fat chance. I could barely remember the title and only remembered that the author had a
Absolutely off-the-wall, shocking, politically incorrect, lewd, inappropriate, gory, disgusting...and fantastic. You will wonder why in he world you are reading it--and why everyone doesn't read it. It defies coherent description. Read the first chapter...and you'll either toss it in disgust or devour it.
Warren Chan
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Robert Baker on fire with this second-person novel about a Hollywood prodigy whose life and brain are totally fucked by the world around him. Shark Trager, our anti-hero, makes monumental art and monumental trash while destroying the lives of everyone around him. I read once that the relationship between Shark and his father is the most autobiographical thing that Baker ever wrote. Based on that, I expected Shark's character to be gay, but he is not. Instead, Shark is one of the hyper-stra ...more
Ross McClintock
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boy Wonder is offensive, hilarious, and deranged. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who likes the oral history format and who has a passing knowledge of Classic Hollywood (lots of movie references). I could not put this down when I started reading it.

This book was filled front to back with non-stop insanity. And I loved every second of it! This is a fictional oral history of the rise and fall of producer Shark Trager. Shark is a brilliant movie mogul, but an absolutely self destructive
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gonzo-crazy
James Robert Baker's "Boy Wonder" has been on my 'to-read' list for years because it's kind of hard to get and expensive in the U.S., as a handful of truly buzzworthy OOP cult novels tend to be. The author throws out a razor-sharp, gonzo satire of the movie business as seen through fictional producer "Shark" Trager who careens through the movie business of the 1970s and 80s. It's funny, it's bold, it's offensive and it jams thumbs into the eyes of Hollywood. It's punk! Film fans will get a kick ...more
Earl Adams
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy Wonder is a bawdy naughty wild ride. Not for the easily offended, but any means, but a must read for anyone who romanticizes Hollywood and misses a time when movies were just starting to get awful. I thoroughly enjoyed every berserk page.
Kevin Webster
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this a long time ago, but remember it making me laugh. A lot. So it gets four stars for that, and being a memorable read.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
OK. I lied. I rated this book a year ago (indicating I had read it) but since I just found, bought and read it all in the last few weeks, I can tell you I was wrong. In fact, this has been the most elusive James Robert Baker for me to find since it's not gay. LGBT bookstores have stocked "Tim and Pete" and the posthumous releases pretty well, but not this one.

"Boy Wonder" is an opus. It's title is a reference to MGM's Irving Thalberg, though it's more about a post-m...more OK. I lied. I rated th
Matt Jones
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a dark and sleazy book, most of all it is extremely funny and very well written. Shark Trager is fascinating and terrible and brilliantly drawn .. the anecdotes are hysterical and the random sprawl and length of the book just makes it all the more real somehow.

I read this when it came out and loved it. I am not a movie buff. I am a big fan of Studs Terkel's books and at the time I was really blown away by the idea of fictional oral histories. When World War Z came out recently I was rem
Eric Cohen
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, with a dark sense of humor and likes to see Hollywood burn
I picked up this now hard to find book by accident at the Murray Hill branch of the New York Public Library. It may have just come out but I grabbed because of the title alone. When I found out it was about Hollywood I knew I had to grab it.

To say though that this is a Hollywood book is too narrow. It's quite possibly the most subversive Hollywood book ever written. And yet, as I've been telling people ever since, what makes it so great that it is just ever so slightly a nothc beyond reality.

C. Sharp
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is out of print and can be hard to find. It is one of the seminal books of my high school experience, and I had a pretty great high school experience.

It's about a fucked up kid who grows up to be a fucked up man. He rises to fame as a big time film producer and then crashes hard, haunted all the while by the love and demons of his youth. It's funny, twisted and rich.

You should get it, and read it at the beach. Then read it again sometime later. You'll love it both times.

One day I'd l
Rocco Versaci
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Baker's wild send-up of Hollywood is told in the form of a faux oral history of the meteoric rise and spectacular fall of Shark Trager, movie mogul. This novel is like "Citizen Kane" crossed with Quentin Tarantino; it's a crazy, clever book filled with unforgettable characters, surreal plot developments, and all kinds of in-jokes and references for movie buffs. The Academy Awards scene towards the end of the book is laugh-out-loud hysterical. The book is a cult classic but (inexplicably) out of ...more
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015, yanks
Laugh out loud satire about the Hollywood film industry. It took me a little while to think how to describe it, but I finally decided that this book is to Hollywood as Theatre of Blood is to Shakespeare. I can't understand why it isn't more widely known and acclaimed. It's over the top in a hilarious way, with some really magnificent jokes. Should've been a cult classic by now.
Steve Van der werff
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought the paperback.from Crown a Books in SF in 1989 and loved it, laughing out loud repeatedly. In the past few decades it has become a rare book, but I had the fortune of re-reading this year after two decades when a co -worker purchased a hard cover. Highly recommended, especially if you love film making and Hollywood.
Chris Hooper
A fabulous journey
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Valancourt Books: Boy Wonder (1988) by James Robert Baker 1 18 Jan 17, 2020 01:31PM  

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