Spirit Staff's Reviews > How I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
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's review
Aug 31, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: staff-picks
Read in June, 2010

We chose this book as our first "pick" for the staff book club; as it turns out, the staff book club really only met for one month, so it was also our last "pick." All questions to our commitment and tenacity aside, this was a *perfect* choice! Here is all you really need to know about the plot: Peter Tarslaw, who has recently been laid off from his job forging students' college admissions essays, finds out his college sweetheart is getting married. Determined not to show up a pathetic loser, he decides that he will become a famous novelist. He's studied the bestseller lists and book reviews and develops a set of criteria that he knows, if employed correctly, will get him on the pages of Kirkus and PW in no time.

Hely's tongue-in-cheek satire about the world of writers, readers and publishers is hilariously spot-on. If we didn't already know that the bestseller lists he includes in the novel were of his own creation, we wouldn't have any trouble believing them! Tarslaw is irreverent and often immoral, but not entirely without a heart. Underneath this hysterical send-up of the book world, Hely's laid out some sensitive insights about the value of literature.

This is an ideal choice for someone looking for a light-but-smart, laugh-out-loud funny quick read. It's especially great for anyone involved with books: avid readers, writers, publishers, booksellers, etc. Even if you only read one or two books a year, put this on your short list.

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