Customer Reviews for

How I Became a Famous Novelist

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Laughed out loud many times

    I first heard about this book while listening to an interview of Steve Hely on NPR's Fresh Air. Hely was funny in the interview and when they mentioned that he was a writer for 30 Rock, I knew the book was probably going to be just as good as it sounded. So, I marched into Barnes and Noble the next week and bought it.
    I really enjoyed it, and couldn't even put it down at times! Hely is a great storyteller, and his main character is so relatable that you immediately become engaged in the journey. The fundamentals of the story (e.g., that he decides to become a novelist out of spite so that he can show up at an ex-girlfriend's wedding as a celebrity, that he thinks dramatic novelists are essentially scam artists, etc.) are hilarious enough to make the book enjoyable. But, Hely doesn't stop there. The details and characters that he involves along the way are each a wonderful blend of creative, interesting and funny that keep you hooked and laughing out loud from beginning to end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hilarious and well-thought out

    I think any bookseller can appreciate some of the points that Hely raises in his novel--like how so much absolute drivel is written just for money, and how it differs from authors who actually mean what they say and care about writing. Even though it is a funny novel that had me laughing out loud through most of it, I think the author cares about writing enough for the irony and sarcasm in the book to ring true. Except for the part about booksellers hating their jobs. I'm proof that that's not true for all of us!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    If anything can make the book lovers subcult laugh, this is it!

    If you are one of those people who loves nothing better than lolly-gagging around book stores or can't quite relax until the Times Book Review section has been devoured, and yet you still might enjoy a laugh about yourself and your world, this is the book for you. There's an out loud laugh on almost every page. This is a literate author with an extraordinary gift.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2009

    Funny book!

    Worth the money. Laugh out loud funny!

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Good Honest Parody

    This novel is undeniably funny, and it's Steve Hely's comedic voice, channeled through his alter-ego (memoir-writer Pete Tarslaw) that draws you into the story. Employed as a ghost writer for hopeless student application essayists, Tarslaw seems destined for a life as an underemployed slacker. But when Tarslaw's college ex-girlfriend invites him to her wedding, he suddenly finds the motivation to write a novel so that he can attend as a rich-and-famous writer and upstage the event with his star presence.

    Tarslaw embarks on a manic quest to pen and market a preposterous story called "The Tornado Ashes Club" that cobbles together sentimental elements of popular literary fiction in a way that Tarslaw hopes will yank the heartstrings of the foolish book-buying masses. As his con begins to succeed, however, Tarslaw begins to feel embarassed by the fraudulent work he has perpetrated. This is where the story crosses over from comedy to something more meaningful.

    As Tarslaw gradually learns that many readers are able to judge an honest story from a con and that some writers are genuinely dedicated to their craft, the story evolves from a scathing parody of the publishing world to a genuine-feeling search for truths. Sure the mainstream publishing business is in trouble, as evidenced everyday by the financial woes of the publishers and the crazy marketing strategies used to push books on a public that would rather watch TV, surf the Net, or vegetate at the movies, but Steve Healy makes a strong case that what's popular in the fictional world is often a better barometer of literary merit than what the professional critics decree.

    This book is a must read for writers, publishers and readers who are interested in a funny-yet-frank look at the business of penning and selling books.

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    Posted September 19, 2009

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    Posted September 20, 2010

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    Posted October 5, 2010

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    Posted August 1, 2009

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