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The Editor

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  502 ratings  ·  207 reviews
A poignant, highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever…

‘Laugh-out-loud funny and searingly poignant’ Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones and the Six

One of PopSugar’s ‘Buzzy Books to Read This Spring’

The Editor is a sweet and charming novel, perfect for fans of Jackie O and Rowley's first no

Kindle Edition
Published April 4th 2019 by The Borough Press (first published April 2nd 2019)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  502 ratings  ·  207 reviews

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Larry H
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Steven Rowley's The Editor really hit the spot for me. It was utterly charming, it had so much heart, and it dealt with some of my favorite subjects—family dysfunction, struggles with self-confidence, writing, secrets, and the relationships that crop up in the most unlikely of places.

James Smale has always dreamed of being a writer. After having his first few short stories published, he imagined the path to literary success would be easy. But writing a novel never seemed to come easy
Katie B
I actually squealed when I first read the synopsis for this one. I thought it was such a clever idea for a historical fiction book and I was really impressed with the author's ability to think a little outside the box. Instead of having a story revolve around Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her time as First Lady, this book features a writer who receives quite the surprise when he finds out Mrs. Onassis is going to be the editor for his book. Her time working for a publishing house and the last few y ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unpublished author, James Smale, is star-struck. Who wouldn’t be? When he finally secures a book deal his editor is none other than Mrs. Jackie Onassis. However, there is one major snag. Mrs. Onassis is less than thrilled with the ending which she urges him to re-write. This leads James to confront and untangle the knot of his relationship with his mother. Who among us doesn’t struggle with relationships? James’ observations, actions and revelations are sardonic, droll and quite relatable even i ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
THE EDITOR is written by the same author that wrote LILY AND THE OCTOPUS, which is a book I loved.

Imagine that, after pouring your heart into writing a book, a publishing house in NY calls you to have your work polished by an editor, and that editor is no other than Jackie Kennedy-Onassis!  I'd be so excited I'd pass away on the spot.

The novel follows the relationship between Jackie, the editor, and James, the writer, as they work together. We are exposed to the editing process and the story is
How would you react if you show up at a meeting with a publisher, and find out to your surprise that the editor is none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis? This is the situation James Smale finds himself in when the book opens. It seems Jackie has fallen in love with his autobiographical novel based on his dysfunctional family, and she and James will work together to edit his book. What a terrific premise and the wit and humor only added to my enjoyment.

But the more I got into the book the more b
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-2019
READ: The Editor

OMG, and I’m not a fan of that phrase, but I’m listening to the audio and it is brilliant! Michael Urie fits as tight as “James Smale’s glove” as his character and narrator.

Out today! Run to the bookstore, or your computer to order. Read and or listen!

James Smale has wanted to write books since he first jammed out a neighborhood newsletter on his mother’s old typewriter when he was nine years old. That typewriter was beautiful, even he knew that at his young age, “It was a Swiss
Cindy Burnett
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Editor is an absolute gem from start to finish. Rowley writes beautifully and lyrically, and his depiction of tough familial issues interspersed with the wit and wisdom of Jackie Onassis creates a perfect tale.

James Smale is an unpublished author whose autobiographical novel about his dysfunctional has been sold to Doubleday Books. Sent by his agent to the publishing house, Smale is astonished to learn that Jackie Kennedy Onassis is his editor. As they commence working together to prepare t
There are some books that start up out of the gate as gang busters and make you think that this book is one for you. That is how this book began for me. When I got to the fifty percent point, I started to think oh no, this book is sliding downhill but hoped that it would once again be the five star read it was in the beginning. Unfortunately that didn't occur and as I continued to read I became more and more disappointed.

The premise of a new author's book being edited by the indomitable Jacqueli
Amy Imogene Reads
4 stars

An aspiring gay novelist in 1990s New York lands a publishing deal exploring the estranged relationship between a mother and son, and discovers his Doubleday editor is none other than former First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The Editor was touching, introspective, and full of nuanced emotional character arcs.

Concept: ★★★★★
Protagonist: ★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★

Right off the bat: this story is not focused on Jackie Kennedy. She is a pivotal character, but her arc in The Edi
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wouldn't it be great if Jackie O. was your editor? Well that's what's happened to James when his first book is accepted by a publisher - he's assigned to Jackie Kennedy Onassis. James is awestruck,

James has written a book about his mother and their relationship. It needs some work according to Jackie, especially the end - she wants it rewritten. As James works on the rewrite he learns some things about his life, his mother, and his father.

This book was filled with both humor and introspection.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Smale has finished writing his first novel, “Quarantine”, and an editor at Doubleday is interested in publishing it. Until he arrives for his first meeting about the book he doesn’t know that the editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. James never stops being awed by her aura, history and celebrity. Quarantine is about mothers and sons and Mrs. Onassis is drawn to the book. In her gentle prodding of James to improve the book and make it more true, she also prods him to address issues with hi ...more
Louise Wilson
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After years of trying to make it as a writer in the 1990's New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing houses, none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- or Mrs Onassis as she is known in the office -- has fallen in love with James candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the books forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, Jam ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Imagine having Jackie Kennedy assigned as the editor of your debut novel, especially for a young male author grappling with maternal issues of his own. This is the premise of Steven Rowley's The Editor. I enjoyed this novel and the way James uses the writing and editing of his novel to discover himself. I will say, I picked up this novel for the Kennedy aspect - which was NOT so much the focus of the book. I think the role of Kennedy could have been played by anyone written as a strong maternal ...more
4.5 stars rounded up

 Lily and the Octopus was a book that I absolutely love, so I knew I would read anything Steven Rowley wrote next but when I read the synopsis for The Editor and found out that the editor in this book was Jackie Kennedy, it absolutely made it to the top of my must-read list of spring books.

James Smale is a young, unpublished novelist who is sent by his agent to Doubleday Books to discuss his semi-autobiographical novel with the person who wants to become his editor. No one wa
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Smale has finally sold his book to a publisher. When he arrives at the publisher's office in New York, he is shocked to discover the editor who wants to publish his book is none other than former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As he progresses down the road towards publication, James has trouble finishing his story. The book is semi-autobiographical and could cause problems in his already tenuous relationships with his family and partner. He forms an unexpected friendship with Onas ...more
Lisa Wolf
I might be generous and make this 2.5 stars, which would then lead me to round up to 3... but nah. I just can't. I raced through this book, not because it was so compelling, but because I was afraid that if I slowed down, I'd just quit. The emotions and relationships just never rang true for me, and this book barely sustained my interest.
Navidad Thélamour
Steven Rowley’s The Editor is a jaunty, light read that attempts humor on every page. The opening of the novel, in many ways, reminded me of a duller, less funny version the wide-eyed Andrea Sachs of The Devil Wears Prada but from a male perspective. However, Rowley’s version read more in the vein of puerile than comical, and the jokes and moments of humor never really hit the mark for me. As I read this novel, the attempts at comedy only distracted from the reading experience, because they mana ...more
Navidad Thélamour
Review to come!
Maine Colonial
Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reviewing copy.

Novelists often write stories or characters based on their own lives, and I’ve always wondered how that affected the author’s friends and family. What is it like to know that anything you say or do could end up being betrayed—and maybe mischaracterized—in a novel? I was attracted to this novel by the fact that the lead character, James Smale, has written a book about his troubled relationship with his mother, and he has to deal with
Betsy Robinson
I suspect a lot of writers have a fantasy about having worked with Jacqueline Onassis as an editor—for probably as many different reasons as there are fantasies. Steven Rowley has written his, with Onassis as an accelerant to the healing of a mother/son relationship. It’s well done and I enjoyed it enough to read 300+ pages in two days.
switterbug (Betsey)
When I take a long time to finish a book because I am reading it between better books, it doesn’t bode too well for my final assessment. Actually, my favorite scene in the book is at the beginning, the first time our hero, James, meets Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It’s the early years of the 90s, when she is a Doubleday editor with a small office, who uses a conference room to meet with a client because it has more space. I think Rowley captured her essence there, at least the grace and polish sh ...more
Lisa Leone-campbell
The Editor is a fictional novel about first time author James Smale who sells his book to Doubleday during the 1990's only to find out his editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The story is very lovely and awkward and funny at times as James tries to feel comfortable with his new editor and not make a complete fool of himself in the process of getting to know her.

As Jackie and James do begin to bond, James' other relationships, with his mother and family, whom the book is based, on begin to fall
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
To write an autobiographical novel entails a great deal of risk. Because people know you are writing about your own life--fictionalized--inevitably bringing emotional turmoil into the lives of those people. And perhaps that is why James Smale can't bring his novel to a satisfying end--he is reluctant to go the distance because of the high costs.

Smale's editor believes in him, in his novel, and in the story he has yet to tell. He can't tell it yet, because he hasn't lived it. And his editor pres
Kate Vocke
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, favorites, netgalley
I had no idea what to expect going into this. I had no idea Jackie O was an editor!

But, I ended up reading a beautiful story of a struggling writer, who finally finds an editor who wants to publish his book. And it turns out to be the very famous woman her self. The story feels like a sneak peek into a writer’s life (I imagine quite like reality!), and an even sneakier peek into Jackie's life, although it’s just fiction, it feels so real - and you want it to be. The narrator is witty and he’s qu
Christopher Castellani
When you go to the grocery store, do you walk up and down every aisle, looking for things you might not even realize you need until you see them? Or do you go right to what's needed, throw it in the cart, and get out of there? What does this say about you? What does it say about your mother and father, who taught you one way or the other? Speaking of which, did you ever really know your mother? Are you sure your father's who he says he is? Oh, and what if, as you were figuring this all out, you ...more
Kaytee Cobb
I. Loved. This.

Steven Rowley really captured me with Lily and the Octopus, and so when I knew he had a new one coming out, I definitely was excited to get my hands on it. But I didn't get any info beforehand, I was just "whatever it is, I want it" mode.

So, I picked it up as a galley (thanks to Putnam for sending me a copy), and went into it knowing basically nothing. That means that even though the jacket copy (and even another version of the cover) talks about Jackie O., I was totally excited a
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if Jackie Kennedy was your editor? I loved this! A writer that finally gets picked up by Double Day Publishing gets the surprise of his life when he discovers that Jackie Kennedy is his editor. His novel is about his mother, whom he paints in a not so gracious light. Jackie tells him he needs an ending to his novel. She sends back home where he discovers secrets about his mother he never knew before. There are just so many things in this novel that I loved. The characters, his relationship ...more
Linda Quinn
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love that James’ relationship with Jackie Onassis forces him to confront his own mother and the dysfunctional nature of their relationship. Beautifully written and really heartwarming.
The Lit Bitch
Besides the fact that this book has an absolutely stunning cover, the premise caught my eye and I was intrigued enough to read it.

Jackie O is my favorite first lady. I don’t know a whole lot about her life and history, but I think she is one of the classiest first ladies we have had, she was a Catholic like me, and last but not least, I adore her style.

I had no idea that she was an editor at one point in her life, so seeing that in the pitch for this book pretty much sealed the deal for me. The
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
I honestly don't know what I expected going into this book, but it certainly wasn't what I got. This is outside of my normal genre but is a prime example of why I love going outside of my usual reads. I absolutely know just about nothing about the Kennedys or Jackie O - I was never that person that was obsessed with them but of course I know the "basics" because I don't live under a rock. And while Jackie is an integral part of this story line, she doesn't steal the show.

I absolutely love the wa
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Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus, which has been published in nineteen languages and is being developed as a major motion picture by Amazon Studios. He has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist and screenwriter. Originally from Portland, Maine, he is a graduate of Emerson College. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

His new novel, The Editor (G.P. Putnam'
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