Lit Life: A Novel by Kurt Wenzel
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
November 11, 2003
I'll be up front: this book was not what I was hoping for. I'd read in the descriptions that it was about two writers at different points in their lives spending together. I naively thought that meant they would form some sort of bond and learn about WRITING and life from each other. That never really materialized. Instead, "Lit Life" is a "satire" that demonstrates all that is wrong with the publishing industry; it is a book more concerned with dishing dirt than building an effective, meaningful story. In a world where sleaze sells, "Lit Life" is there with all the sleaze a modern reader could ask for. Drugs, drinking, sex, affairs, and ultimately a suicide; this book is like a literary soap opera.
"Lit Life"'s main conundrum is that either you can be a great artist with no recognition like Richard Whitehurst or popular, rich, and not talented like Richard's nemesis Arthur. These two spend a summer trying to bend young, troubled author Kyle Clayton to their point of view. There is no real middle ground if you believe "Lit Life"; you're either one or the other. You can't be a wealthy and talented writer, can you? Unfortunately I don't know enough famous writers to answer that question, but I don't believe that for a moment. As a writer hoping to get published someday, I CAN'T believe that.
Overall, my problem with "Lit Life" is that Wenzel glosses over important moments of the story. For example, readers never even see Richard invite Kyle to stay with him. Nor do readers see much of Richard and Kyle together during the summer; everything that Kyle learns from Richard is told second-hand instead of actually witnessed by the reader. Take Wenzel's word for it, Kyle was really influenced by Richard. Wait, wasn't that the whole crux of the story? Wasn't that THE story? So maybe it's just me, but I think we might want to flesh that out a little more than a couple paragraphs here and there. No, instead let's talk about another party, that's really what this story is about--parties.
Enough of my ranting. If you're in the publishing industry then I suggest you read this book; this "satire" will probably be right up your alley. Or if you want some light airplane reading and want to believe that all writers are either toiling futilely or selling their souls to
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