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The Columnist

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3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  28 reviews
It a cocktail party, George H. W. Bush encourages Brandon Sladder, the prominent Washington columnist, to write his memoirs. Sladder has, after all, known just about everyone of importance. He has talked on intimate terms with world leaders, been a witness to enormous change, and expressed weighty opinions on important matters of state. He believes that his own life story ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published August 22nd 2001 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2001)
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David Allen
The fictional memoir of a glib, shallow Washington pundit who ruins lives, including his own. Brandon Sladder has no self-awareness ("My chief flaw is an inability to recognize my other flaws"), yet Frank is able to make us see what his protagonist can't, a tricky thing to pull off. Very funny, and a little sad.
Jennifer
I read this book because David Sedaris recommended it at a reading I attended. I found it to be every bit as amusing as Sedaris promised. However, a friend who read it after me hated it. I don't think she realized it was supposed to be funny and that you are NOT supposed to like the narrator.
Ron Charles
Jeffrey Frank's new novel puts Washington columnists on the horns of a dilemma. They could sue him for defamation, but first they'd have to admit that they see themselves as the pompous windbag at the center of his dark comedy.

Then again, Frank shouldn't worry. Notoriety is the coin of our age. If "The Columnist" garners enough fame, contestants on The McLaughlin Group will brag that they were his inspiration.

At the opening of this fictionalized memoir, Brandon Sladder claims that George Bush (t
...more
Heather
Read this after having it on my list forever after hearing David Sedaris recommend it. Turns out I didn't like it so much. About a fictional DC journo writing his memoirs who turns out to be quite the cad and dick. Weirdly, I didn't realize at first that he was supposed to be a cad or a dick; the main evidence about that was that he basically reports never getting along with bosses or any coworkers and most people not liking him. Also he never speaks to his parents at all and he's a pretty shame ...more
Bill
An Imagined Life

Frank, J. (2001). The Columnist. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Brandon Sladder is a rising journalistic star in Washington, D.C., in this imaginary autobiography. The first-person narrator describes, with unintentionally humorous false modesty, his career. It is an excellent, if obvious exercise in presenting an unreliable narrator. Sladder is full of pride, while the reader increasingly realizes what a buffoon he is.

He describes with disingenuous offhandedness how he met JFK,
...more
Joseph
If you're a frequent reader of liberal bloggers like Atrios or Digby, you've probably heard the phrases "The Village" or "The Kewl Kids". As you may have guessed, these are pejorative terms for the chattering classes, the coterie of elite pundits that opine in print and on TV about the "issues". I put issues in quotes because they rarely talk policy or even politics, unless your idea of politics is limited to inane discussions of image, vile rumor-mongering and endless horserace speculation of p ...more
Marie
Well...the voice was consistent, if consistently shallow.

And while in part that was intentional—after all, it's positioned as a satire—the quality of the humor had no depth or sophistication. The Columnist has no more to say than the narrator does, and that's not much. While I suspected I wouldn't be impressed by the jacket flap, I liked the idea of a fictional author revealing more than he intended. Unfortunately, the narrator here is dumber than a rock; he not only lacks the slightest self-awa
...more
Pooch
I finished reading The Columnist by Jeffrey Frank. It is a satirical account of a pompous journalist who becomes a Washington columnist and "talking head" on cable news channels. He is a composite of several self-important journalists that often pop up on cable news. Written in the voice of the lead character as he pens his memoirs, the name dropping and anecdotes are self-serving, witty, and pathetic. A quick read, this book left me feeling very sad for the lonely character of Brandon Sladder.
James
Aug 21, 2009 James rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an opinion, and the presumption to share it
A wonderfully satirical look at journalism, Washington D.C. culture, social climbing, sex, and social-climbing sex. The cherry on the sundae is the "Index," best appreciated like a good dessert after the meal of the memoir.

If you can get your hands on a copy of this, read it. The novel paints a brilliant picture of where our country headed off the cliff, and why you're now reading book reviews from unqualified strangers.
Frederick Bingham
This is the story of Brandon Sladder, a news analyst who covers the major stories of the day starting in the mid-1960's and continues until the mid-1990's. It is his fictional memoirs. It describes a life of selfishness, licentiousness, back-stabbing, luxury and lust. Probably a reasonably good accounting of what it is like to be in such a position.
Jennifer
Feb 23, 2009 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mom, Ellen
Recommended to Jennifer by: David Sedaris, seriously
Good book, I liked it a lot. The main character is a self-absorbed, social-climbing journalist. The book starts in Buffalo, which is amusing, as the author lives on Cleveland Avenue then in Allentown.
David Sedaris spoke about this book when he spoke at UB a few years back. Glad I picked it back up and read it in full.
Oren
I just finished reading this book a second time. It is, hands down, one of the funniest books I've ever read. I'm satisfied using cliched terms like "darkly hilarious" and "wickedly funny" to describe it. It is that good; that original.
Gina
Probably more funny to those who have either (a) lived in DC and understand the political background or (b) have been involved with journalism. Or, (c) know a self-absorbed schmuck like the narrator.
Tracy
Not sure everyone would like this fictional account of a power-hungry newspaper reporter but having lived in DC for as long as I have, I found it quite entertaining!
Matt
Funny fake autobiography of a DC political writer. I think you're supposed to think that the author is a dick, but I liked him. Not sure what that says about me.
Jenny
Aug 17, 2007 Jenny rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one in particular
Shelves: fiction
well, here's a good humor story about a jerky journalist. not only does it take place in buffalo, it also has an index!
Autumn
"The Columnist" is like a journalism romance novel -- fast-moving, highly amusing, excellent beach reading.
John
A decent read for (American) political junkies; others would likely have a tough time getting into the book.
Marilyn
I know people like this main character and I'd like to kick them in the butt!
Andrea
it was very refreshing to read book like this-saying-a memoire. :)
Stella Young
Not as good as his other, 'Hopedale.' A little of a zzzz
Jean
witty, irritating, almost a 4 and worth reading
Billy
Sep 30, 2007 Billy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bob Shrum
A study in hubris. Pretty entertaining.
Cass Caulfield
Good quick read - pretty funny
Ben
very very cynical...
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Worked as senior editor at The New Yorker. Also worked for The Washington Post.
More about Jeffrey Frank...
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