This is called the “back cover copy,” and you are no doubt familiar with its purpose. It describes what the book is about, so you can decide if you want to read it.
Here’s the problem, though: I can’t even describe this book, and I wrote the damn thing.(1)
Basically, it’s like this: fed up with the Byzantine quest of trying to publish a novel, I decide instead to cut to the chase and write a memoir about trying to publish a book—this book, to be precise.
Of course, now you’re saying to yourself, “That is stupid,” which is fair. But then you’ll read it, and you’ll say, “Damn, that was actually pretty good.”
Because obviously it’s about much more than just publishing a book. It’s about life and love and friendship; politics, pop culture, and basketball; sex, drugs, and mild, inoffensive, slow-tempo Christian rock.(2)
It’s about the pitfalls of narrating your life as it unfolds, freaking out when an agent actually (spoiler alert!) takes an interest in this bizarre experiment, and the surreal shock you undergo when a publisher actually buys it(3) and you suddenly realize that every secret drunk, drug, and sex story you’ve related will now be required reading for your parents, aunts, ex-girlfriends, and thousands of strangers who—you were kind of hoping—would never find out that you once accidentally shut your penis in a dresser drawer.(4)
And finally, but most importantly, it’s about those tumultuous early years of adulthood—the years when hope and fear and rage broil together and the promise of youth still holds the capacity to inspire awe. This is a story of those struggles—to find your true voice in your work and in your life. And the best part?
You pretty much know it has a happy ending.(5)
1 What’s beside it on the shelf? Something with a sexy vampire? If you’re looking for sexy, I do full-frontal nudity in Chapter 11.
2 It is not really about that last one.
3 And then later makes you write your own back cover copy even though you clearly do not know what you’re doing.
4 Although I’ll dodge a bullet there because I totally left that story out of the book.
5 Except for what happens to the puppy at the fertilizer plant. I admit, that part is kind of a downer.
It doesn t matter what problems you ve got with Markley s sprawling, self-referential account of his efforts to sell a book about his efforts to sell the book he s writing at that very moment he s already anticipated your criticisms, from the imperfect echoes of writers like Dave Eggers and Chuck Klosterman to the preponderance of dick jokes and other forms of frat boy humor. Of course, on a basic level, the book is a stupid idea, he admits early on; later, he concedes, I ve just been winging it, and it shows. He might have been better off cutting down some of the more self-indulgent sections, like a minihistory of his tenure as a political sex columnist for his college paper or an exploration of the fake memoir phenomenon featuring made-up conversations with Chicago drug dealers and underprivileged high school students. But there are compelling, emotionally resonant passages, too: a reflection on what it s like to shake loose the influence of a literary mentor, for example, or a best friend s realization of just how much an unplanned pregnancy has changed his life
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A book every guy should own
This book is amazing, insigntful, insulting and prolific. Man deserves an award for knocking on the door of every guy in our genration and catching them with their pants down and writing about it. Well done and bravo man. turning to gold buddy!