So, aided by an experimental drug that helps him concentrate, he commences work on his novel. He bases his plot on an examination of the common characteristics of the (fake) NY Times Best Sellers list. His list of rules for what his novel must include (Christmas, food, cross-country trips, murders, etc.) and the justifications for why these are in novels is one of the hilarious highlights of this book. For example, "Rule 15: Must have obscure exotic locations" because "Americans trust knowledge acquired abroad....as evidenced by their love of Andrea Bocelli and the Olive Garden. Even kids like Chef Boyardee."
|Hely: Nerdy, but funny.|
So Pete's novel is published. It's panned by serious critics, but embraced by readers, aided by a series of serendipities. From there, the second half of the novel is a bit predictable and not nearly as well-written or funny as the first part (except for the part when Pete has a tryst with a cougar novelist he hates). But it's a short book, so it's easy enough to cruise through this to find the answer to the key question: Will Pete get his comeuppance?
At the heart of this satire is the idea that publishers really don't know what's good and what's not anymore. Pete's friend Lucy, who is an assistant editor at a publisher, has a drunken rant to this effect. "I just can't tell anymore," she says. And readers don't know either. They're happy to be spoon fed
You're not going to like Pete, but you're going to like this novel. If you're interested in publishing, if you have a cynical streak in you, and if you like good satire and sharply funny writing (see below for example), this is for you.
(Thanks to Brenna at Literary Musings for recommending this. She was right: I DID like it.)
My favorite quote from novel: "That false-hearted overcapitalizing strumpet was welcome to marry whatever Pacific Rim lout would call her missus."