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Straight White Male

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,032 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Kennedy Marr is a novelist from the old school. Irish, acerbic, and a borderline alcoholic and sex-addict, his mantra is drink hard, write hard and try to screw every woman you meet.
He's writing film scripts in LA, fucking, drinking and insulting his way through Californian society, but also suffering from writers block and unpaid taxes. Then a solution presents itself -
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by William Heinemann (first published 2013)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,032 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Imagine you’re having a nice drink in a bar. Then an utterly wasted middle-aged man staggers over to you, purple nose with cracked veins, face so red it looks about to explode at a moment’s notice, reeking of alcohol. He sits next to you heavily and proceeds to tell you details of his life you don’t want to know in an extremely loud voice, details that comprise his sex life and his drug and alcohol intake, all of which he is very proud of. Then imagine, as you try to leave, that you can’t and th ...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
am I hallucinating or is this actually a book title
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
John Niven is an expert at writing deplorable, hedonistic main characters (except, well, Jesus). Kennedy here is no exception, ignoring his family and obligations in order to snort, drink, and fuck his way through the entirety of Hollywood. He's smart, a bit sadistic, and certainly lacking in self-awareness. When the tides turn against him--and they do--they do so slowly, events conspiring in such a delicious manner because you want Kennedy to be a better person and don't mind relishing in a bit ...more
Prendi il peggior Welsh. Copialo.
Niven vorrebbe forse scrivere un'arguta critica agli scrittori prestati al cinema, all'edonismo sfrenato, all'ipersessualità, alle debolezze "del maschio contemporaneo" (doverosa citazione dalla quarta di copertina). Forse. In realtà riscrive un sunto dei peggiori libri di Irvine Welsh - che sapeva scandalizzare divertendo e divertire scandalizzando, nonostante le ultime prove un po' sottotono.

Il protagonista, il talentuoso (non si capisce come e perché) Kennedy
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Kennedy Marr, erstwhile bestselling author, is a successful Hollywood screenwriter. Lazy, offensive and narcissistic, he is an alcoholic and a compulsive womaniser - barmaids, starlets, TV producers and most memorably his wife's best friend at his own wedding. He is not choosy.

An unlikely set of events sends him back to a university in England - lured there by a massive tax free payment - to be a visiting professor of creative writing for a year. To complicate matters his ex wife is a lecturer t
Callum Jacobs
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book whose beauty lies in creating a character who is totally, almost unbelievably terrible as a human (really, an absolute platinum-lined shitball) and yet somehow sympathetic. Kennedy Marr is rude, self-absorbed, unreliable and from the opening chapter clearly on a fast track to self-destruction, but you know what? I really liked him. And that's not because I am also a shitball, honestly, it's because Niven's writing is clever and funny and honest. Mostly though it is funny - laugh o ...more
Mariafrancesca di natura viperesca sta con  Orlando
La mia più vecchia amica mi ha confessato che il 16 giugno parte per N.Y. Ha imposto però una visita a Boston alle altre due compagne di viaggio. Per respirare un po’ d’aria di vecchia Europa. Si sa dei pregiudizi di noi allattati alle mammelle della cultura …
Così ho continuato a leggere questo libro da cesso (che non sempre coincide con un cesso di libro, ma non è questo il caso) nella speranza che il ritorno nella vecchia Europa del protagonista scrittore di successo, sceneggiatore di grido, s
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gave this five stars simply because I enjoyed it so much. I laughed and chortled all the way through. Irish screenwriter Kennedy Marr lives the high life in Hollywood – rich, extravagant, boozed, drugged and sex up to the eyeballs. He's a rogue, but he's also clever, educated, funny and brilliant company. He leaps off the page and seems like a great guy to meet in a bar. He is, however, having doubts about his life – his many betrayals of his wives and girlfriends, mother, brother and sister. He ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an incredible book. A beautifully written, clever, funny and deeply disturbing book that will grab hold and stay with you.

Niven is as funny as ever but this novel has a distinctly grown up feel about it compared to his others (Cold Hands aside). What starts out as entertaining quickly gets dark, and then very dark. Yet within even the rawest moments, there are still moments of pure comedic genius and you can't help but laugh despite everything that is happening. Equally there are moments o
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Review also found at

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Grove Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is October 7, 2014.

This story provided quite the food for thought for me. The character of Kennedy was perhaps the most unlikeable, self indulgent, self centered, egotistical & narcissistic character I have ever read. I simply hated him. The problem is he was meant to be and this is w
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not going to be for everyone and the first 50 pages or so are tough to get through until you realize where the author is going. But stick with it and then wow. A great story and absolutely stunning writing. Bring on more Niven!
Charles Harris
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
How do you succeed in creating a difficult central character, indeed a quite obnoxious one, and yet persuade your readers to fall in love with him. John Niven provides a textbook example in this scintillating, very funny and ultimately surprisingly moving satire, the story of a Falstaffian Irish screenwriter, mired in his own deep flaws.

Kennedy Marr is no pale genius blushing unseen. He fully admits that he's sold out, promising himself that he'll tell philistine producers where to go, but const
Hayley Gullen
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this as a light read - it had some good turns of phrase about life and art, and some funny one liners.

The problem is that I didn't quite find the main character believable. He is a high functioning alcoholic who enjoys womanising, living the high life in California as a film scriptwriter. He is forced to go to England to take up a teaching post at a university. A few things don't ring true about this. Firstly, he was too likeable. He's intelligent, liberal and a great writer. His ex-wi
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many moons ago I read Kill Your Friends and I loved it. Earlier this year I started to catch up on the other books John Niven has written, and almost all of them are very enjoyable, and here’s another one to add to that list.

I was unsure about this book for the first third or so, however it improves as it goes along as it effectively satirises the American film industry, publishing, English academia, and, the biggest cliche of all, the middle-aged novelist trying to come to terms with his own mo
Roy Elmer
Straight White Male starts out like a sort of angry young man lad-fiction novel. The premise of the mid 40's, successful in work but not in life sexual predator, being forced by circumstances back in to the more mundane. It starts that way, but really all Niven (who I am increasingly becoming sure is a genuinely gifted writer) does all of this to wrong foot his readership.

Kennedy Marr, the aforementioned philanderer, is a deeply tormented man. His family has fallen apart, he can't seem to care
Ian Mapp
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, lad-lit, lit-fict
No-one writes like John Niven.

This could be filed under a straight forward lad lit. It's over the top but as funny as anything that is out there.

But there is so much more to the book than that.

Our hero - Kennedy Marr - is in his mid forties. He is a successful author. Well, at least he used to be. He last wrote a book several years ago, having now sold his soul to the Hollywood machine.

He is also cartoonish in his over-the topness. The book opens with what you expect from Niven. An hilarious set
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow...I have to say that this is an incredibly human book. More than any book I've read in a long time, maybe ever. And the humanity is most found in the little things, and those little moments are so precious and so real, so pertinent.

Beyond that, I think it's really cool that the author was able to make the over-arching story speak to me. As if, yeah right, a mid-western farm/professor's wife is really going to identify with this main character and his circumstances...I thought I would really
Denni Galliussi
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uno dei migliori libri che io abbia mai letto in vita mia. Sono ancora arrabbiata perché... Beh, è finito.
La vita di Kennedy Marr è un'iperbole di errori e riflessioni, con risposte a domande che tutti ci siamo posti almeno una volta.

Diretto, schietto, volgare e falsamente superficiale, questo libro è da divorare.
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Ho trovato il solito americano che vuole scrivere sugli eccessi degli americani, e a parte un guizzo sul finale che mi ha piacevolmente sorpresa, ho letto un romanzo mediocre. Non solo il protagonista è superficiale, ma è proprio scritto superficialmente; abbozzato.
Sinceramente? Non lo consiglierei.
Lucy Aughney
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Unfunny and lethally self indulgent, Straight White Male took about a hundred pages too long to get Kennedy to the UK and then failed to deliver any collegiate, fish out of water humour. Pointless, legless and a bore, much like Kennedy Marr.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
An ageing, inexplicably successful, narcissistic shit begins to feel intense pity for himself. No amount of quoting Yeats and James Joyce could make this character likeable or believable as a talented writer or human being. Impossible to care about his fate.
Emma Taylor
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, re-reads
Amazing! I laughed through the first half and cried through the second. Niven's characterisation is verging on perfect!
Apr 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Worst book that I read to the very end, just because it was a present.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Funny the same time sad, when you’re old, that’s it,
“The dead only have one thing to say to us... Live”
Anne Reis
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Endlich hat er das Schriftsteller-Thema aufgegriffen. Fand bisher alle seine Werke gut und habe schon drauf gewartet. Was soll ich sagen? Ich wurde nicht enttäuscht! Ein tolles Buch!
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, english-books, owned
I loved it all!
I loved the simple writing style! I lived every strugle Keendy was feeling! I laughed a million times and cried three! I loved how its so simple yet so good!
Can't wait to read Kill Your Friends for the same writer!
Silvia Marcaurelio
Secondo romanzo di John Niven, dopo il fantastico “A volte ritorno”. Certo questo non eguaglia la divertentissima storia del ritorno di Gesù sulla terra, ma merita sicuramente di essere letto. Dissacrante quanto basta, irriverente quanto basta, sboccato molto di più, John Niven ci trascina in una storia che di per se non ha nulla di originale, ma che è raccontata con sagace maestria. Il protagonista, Kennedy Marr, è stato uno scrittore di successo, ora per mantenersi ai lussi ed ai vizi, scrive ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A volte inizi un libro aspettandoti di leggere qualcosa di divertente, che abbia una trama interessante e che ti tenga incollato al testo; sperando succeda che verso la fine ti dispiaccia stia finendo, perché sai che i bei libri fanno questo effetto.
E' successo!
Come si fa a non tifare per Kennedy Marr? Quanti maschietti vorrebbero essere come lui? Avere la sua stessa vita?
Ma chiunque, pur volendo essere come lui, non può non porsi le domande sul significato del vivere che si pone Kennedy.
Ma qui
Ian Pindar
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What’s not to like about John Niven? Another absolute belter, no one does male modern misogynist hedonistic misanthropic mid-life crises like Niven. Like the last book of his I read ‘Kill Your Friends.’ I could have quite easily read this one in a day as well, if Hogmanay and a ‘festival hangover’ had not ridden in.

It is beautifully referenced to some of the great male writers, without descending into prescriptive non-fiction. I appreciate the amount of research this can take, to then use only a
FrancesCaporale (La Libraia in Blu)
ncuriosita dalla critica positiva e non avendo mai letto nulla che sia stato scritto da J. Niven, ho deciso di iniziare dall’ultimo suo libro pubblicato in Italia. “Maschio bianco etero”.

Kennedy Marr, protagonista indiscusso, scrittore. sceneggiatore, padre, e non solo, è colui chiamato ad incarnare perfettamente su di sè lo stereotipo di ciò che è il vero maschio bianco etero.
Voce narrante di tutta la vicenda, o le vicende (come si vedrà non è quello che definiremmo “un tipo pacato e tranquillo
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is this a rip off of the TV series Californication? 1 3 Dec 04, 2015 08:08AM  
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Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Niven read English Literature at Glasgow University, graduating in 1991 with First Class honours. For the next ten years, he worked for a variety of record companies, including London Records and Independiente. He left the music industry to write full time in 2002 and published his debut novella Music from Big Pink in 2005 (Continuum Press). The novella was optioned for t ...more
“Quite a place to be, that. When there's no one to tell you not to have another drink.” 2 likes
“The world wasn't lined up the right way for you.” 0 likes
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