You know like when a kid is just screaming and screaming, and the mom just keeps throwing toys at it, but the kid keeps screaming, and it looks like the mom's about to cry, too? . . . That's what it's like! The editors are the mom! Readers are the kid. And the editors just keep throwing stuff at them, but they don't know what to do!Readers buy poorly written books by the millions, and literary masterworks are consigned to the pulping machine. Hely opens almost every chapter with an example of wince-inducing prose from a "best-selling" author.
In retrospect, it probably would have helped if I'd been able to identify the real bestselling authors that no doubt are represented by the broad caricatures with whom Pete finds himself interacting. However, I've read enough books to be amused by the faux bestseller list (including A Whiff of Gingham and Pecorino: On a hilltop villa in Sicily, an American divorcee finds new love with a local cheesemaker involved in a blood feud.), and these lines alone made me laugh out loud (after Pete expresses his views on the "con game" of writing on national TV):
"You might have to apologize to Oprah."Although the book didn't hang together as well as it could have, and ended with a whimper rather than a bang, it was worth a few laughs as a reminder to appreciate literature (but never take anything too seriously).
"What'd I do to her?"
"She's just--that's who you apologize to."