A Love Story
An “audacious satire” of high culture, low standards, reality TV, and instant fame by the author of Moist (Vanity Fair).
Sweet natured and as dumb as a bag of hammers, Sepp Gregory parlayed his six-pack abs and broken heart into overnight success on the insanely popular “reality-based” television show Sex Crib. Now, People magazine’s “sexiest man alive” is touring the country with his bestselling debut novel, a barely fictionalized memoir he neither wrote nor read. He’s signing books shirtless, so no one cares—except for struggling novelist and bastion of intellectualism, Harriet Post.
One of the blogosphere’s stuffiest literary minds, Harriet believes Sepp is the very definition of the apocalypse. Determined to pen an exposé on the publishing industry, Harriet hijacks the book tour and uncovers the ghostwriter. But when her self-righteous campaign ends in a tragic accident, reality collides with “reality” and Sepp and Harriet take it on the lam. Hightailing it on a sex-fueled road trip through the Southwest, Harriet is finally in step with contemporary culture.
Coming “across as the slightly more well-adjusted offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and James Ellroy,” Mark Haskell Smith is at his raucous best in this “incisive, caustic . . . hilarious and . . . unexpectedly sweet illustration of why we write and read in the first place” (Los Angeles Times).
“Subversively funny . . . Think Don DeLillo meets Jersey Shore.” —The Wrap
“Both hilarious and absurd. You’ll laugh (and sometimes blush) the whole way through.” —People
A goofy streak leavens Smith's fifth novel, an overly broad satire that takes potshots at reality TV, the Internet, and the publishing industry. Former beach volleyball player Sepp Gregory, who became a household name by winning the steamy hidden-camera show Sex Crib, is famous for his abs and his romance with fellow contestant Roxy Sandoval. Now his adoring public swarms to meet him on the book tour for his novel, Totally Reality, while his ghostwriter, Curtis Berman, sulks in hipster obscurity in Brooklyn. The novel's critical and commercial success enrages Curtis as well as blogger Harriet Post, who decides to confront Sepp on his tour and expose him as a literary fraud. But Sepp has bigger problems: his once-legendary libido still hasn't recovered from his breakup with Roxy, and now she plans to write her own tell-all about their split. When the exes collide at the Playboy Club with Harriet and Curtis in tow, Sepp realizes he has to break free. Smith overplays his hand early with characters drawn to extremes (one is described as having an "Easy Bake Oven head") and later forced to meet in the vague middle, but he packs his paragraphs with cleverness, mapping out a soapy, exciting plot. When Sepp goes off course, his unpredictable path gets seamy but leaves a glimmer of hope for a self-obsessed society at least for one willing to laugh at itself.