Before I unload my massive critical wit and big dick jokes, I must address the author, Stephen Markley: Dude, when you publish this sweet-ass review in the expanded version of Publish This Book, repay me by throwing me a few failed actresses from the orgies you'll soon be having in Shia LaBeoufs Hollywood basement. Because youll be too wasted on blow by that point to know which part of this review to blurb, Im highlighting it here:
Markley is the quintessential All-American Asshole, a reckless talent who captures the voice of mid-20s millennials so effortlessly that this work will inevitably provoke infinite numbers of wannabes to say, I could have written this book.' Shawn Alff, future author of Best Seller, a memoir about how to publish a successful book.
The premature memoir, Publish This Book, opens with the author in limbo between graduating with a financially worthless degree and searching for
a career to support his writing addiction. The problem: Hes a white refugee from the middle class who hasnt done anything worth writing the Great American Novel about. Markley wasnt forced to be a child soldier in Africa, he hasnt survived the delusions of a drug addiction, and he didnt escape a Nazi prison camp to live with a pack of wolves. So, Markley decides to write a meta-fiction postmodern tale about trying to publish the very novel he's writing.
Because Markleys life isnt riddled with the bulletproof stories of a childhood in the ghettos, this books narrative libido is the author's voice a persona crafted from his stint as a raving liberal columnist at Miami University's student paper. At its best, this voice dispenses with reality to describe angry Amazon.com reviews that will be written about this book, notes for the screenplay of this book (including a ban on Shia LaBeouf playing Markley), and an acknowledgment section that warns family and friends not to leech off his impending fame. This voice is a FUCK YOU to pretentious literary writers in workshops and spoken word poets who pretend they dont write to fulfill delusions of becoming literary rock stars.
When he lands a book deal in the first third of the narrative, the plot flounders. As with his seemingly natural voice, Markley makes writing look too easy. In fact, for a book about writing, his character does very little of it. Readers never get a sense of how hard it is to sit at a computer and not look at porn while sifting through hundreds of big dick jokes until you find that perfect zinger that fits snugly into your story.
His publishers initial instincts were right. This nearly 500-page, narcissistic marathon should be cut in half. Example. Markley's dozens of identical friends should be compressed into composite characters. In print, all white people look the same. An entire page of songs approved for the movie soundtrack is excessive. We get it. He likes Springsteen. An anecdote about Larry Bird being an asshole is included for no did I mention how I went around Vegas telling women I was Shia LaBeoufs brother? No? Good, because it has no relevance to this review. At times Markleys asides, those humorous attempts to show how everything is connected, come off like that annoying stoner in your philosophy class who wont shut up about how if a butterfly farts in Africa
Readers will undoubtedly include many with write a novel on their to-do lists. But this book is about as helpful to budding novelists as coffee-shop writing circles. This is not a how-to narrative. Markley offers very little research, insider info or advice. This is a coming-of-age memoir which succeeds for the same reason all those struggling, middle-aged writers with six unpublished novels stacked in their mothers' basements have failed. Markley refuses to be ignored. This is the message most soon-to-be failed writers will miss. Markley may not be the new Dave Eggers, but he knows that a humorous voice is more engaging than annoyingly talented writers spinning clever "literary" prose. Undoubtedly all of us superior unpublished novelists will look to Markley the way middle-aged employees scowl at the pompous young CEO of a start-up company whose arrogance and dirty jokes disguise how much work, talent and balls it took for him to succeed. This book is the excessive and cocksure American Dream genital warts and all.