Following up on the success of his critically acclaimed novels, Well-Deserved, Blue Sparta, Fast Eddie and December’s Children, author Michael Loyd Gray has returned with the moving journey of a man’s transformation from superficial success to true inner wealth. Written in the taut, beautiful prose that has become Gray’s trademark, Not Famous Anymore is not only a hilarious and tragic literary gem, but a brilliant commentary on the both the illusions of fame and the state of American society today.
Movie star Elliott Adrian has the life that most of us aspire to: fame, fortune and the freedom. But behind the walls of his Beverly Hills mansion, Elliott is floating in a sea of Stoli, loneliness, and quiet desperation. Surrounded by sycophants and paparazzi, his only real friends have fled Hollywood for less pretentious climes, and he longs to do the same. Thus begins his physical and spiritual return home to the rural town of his birth and to the idealist boy he once was.
Disguising himself with a mustache, a cowboy hat and a series of vehicles that have seen better days, Elliott escapes his golden cage and begins driving back to the Midwest. He is not sure what he is doing, but he knows he is driven by an inexplicable need to make things simpler. What he finds, however, is that his life is about to get a heck of a lot more complicated.
Paperback, 260 pages
Published December 2011 by Three Towers Press
ISBN 1595981578 (ISBN13: 9781595981578)
About the Author
from TLC Book Tours
In creating the rich world of his novels, Michael Loyd Gray draws both on his own experiences and the many pearls of wisdom he has gleaned from literature, music, and movie. His work, he has said, is particularly inspired by that of Ernest Hemmingway.
Michael is an award-winning author, journalist and college professor. Born in Arkansas, he has lived and worked all over the country, including Illinois, New York and Arizona, Texas, and Michigan. He has a MFA from Western Michigan University and a Journalism degree from the University of Illinois. His novels have earned several awards, including the 2008 Sol Books Prose Series Award, the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and the 2005 The Writers Place Award for Fiction. Currently, he is a full-time online English professor at South University, where he co-found Asynchronous, the student literary journal. To learn more about his work, visit http://www.michaelloydgray.com/
The sad wail of a mourning dove distracted Elliott Adrian, a compact, dark-headed boy of ten. He quickly surveyed the trees, but could not locate the bird. A breeze rose up suddenly with a swoosh and the treetops grated against each other and moaned with insistence. The dove spoke again and Elliott listened a moment before resuming his fierce stance. In his small hands was a Japanese Samurai sword, a relic pilfered from an uncle who had served in the Pacific.And so we are introduced to the younger version of Elliott. But today Elliott Adrian is a well known movie actor who has grown tired of being famous. So one day he picks up and does his best at NOT being famous anymore. He lives as something of a regular guy, albeit with a lot more cash than a regular guy, and tries to be a face in the crowd that is easily overlooked.
I came out of this novel with rather mixed feelings. There was good character development of the main character, Elliott Adrian, so that I felt I really got to know this guy, and to understand where he was coming from-- I "got" him. But there were enough niggling little things to lower my enjoyment of the story.
Now I'm a dialogue reader. I don't like overly descriptive text and I enjoy the dialogue in a story more than the narrative. But despite being a dialogue-lover, I must say that this author can write some beautiful narrative. Lovely description without getting bogged down in it. However my biggest pet peeve with the dialogue (aside from all of the typos) was the overuse of addressing the other individual by name. The two people conversing were constantly addressing the other person by name.
"What am I, Elliott?"All conversations were like that. Most people (aside from salesmen) don't usually address people by name that often in conversation. Yet in this book it was a pattern with every conversation. I read an article the other day about common mistakes that authors make with dialogue, and one was the overuse of names in conversation. That was the problem here.
"My agent, Marty."
And it felt unrealistic to me that this guy would meet so many people on his travels that would have such profound insights to offer him, to help guide him on his spiritual path. Although the author did a good job at making these people likable (I particularly liked Elliott's friend Mule). I wanted to know these people. I wished they would come into my life, so calming and empowering, with little blips of knowledge and insight to help you understand yourself.
And I never understood how he had all of this cash on hand. There was no mention of him taking huge amounts of cash with him when he disappears from fame, and yet as he lives "on the run" for the next year, he has wads of cash on hand. If he was making big banking withdrawals, I would think someone could track him down (and since there is a reward out for anyone who can find him, people are looking for him), but there is no mention of this at all. So where did all the cash come from?
Probably the biggest disappointment with this book was the poor editing and production. Riddled with typos, most striking were the errors in placing pages in the wrong spots. I became very confused when Elliott was in the middle of a conversation with Marty on page 63, and when I turned the page I found him now in a conversation with a "Roy" who had yet to be introduced. I later found that these two pages numbered 64 and 65 belonged around pages 92-93. And what was in their place at pages 92 and 93? A scene with a "Morgan" (these pages also misplaced and actually belonging around page 122). And again around page 100 were two pages that belonged later in the book around page 128. So I had to flag all of these areas, and when I came to the actual conversation later in the story I'd have to search through my flags to find the conversation to read it in sequence, then jump forward to my current location in the book once again.
And then it seemed that a couple of chapters at the end of the book were swapped around, or a portion of one chapter maybe. I'm still not sure exactly what the deal was. One chapter I'm reading about a Christmas gathering, and the next chapter I'm reading about weeks BEFORE Christmas where these people have never even met one another before, with no indication that it is any kind of flashback or anything. It seemed that the chapters were jumbled. I've read over the chapters a couple of times, and I can find no reason that this would be done purposely, and have to assume that the chapters were swapped before printing, as they made no sense in the order they were in.
All of these editing issues interfered with my enjoyment of the story. I spent too much time trying to figure out what was going on, why I was suddenly in the middle of a different conversation, why I was reading something from the future, or why I had suddenly slipped into the past. Things were all over the place, and I don't believe it was the fault of the writer.
And I was a little put-off by all of the putdowns of Republicans. Being an "independent" (only because I'm forced to register as something in order to be a registered voter), I'm one of those "can't we all just get along" folk who have loved ones on both sides, and who is suffering from "election exhaustion" from all of the negativity one side throws at the other. So the last thing I wanted was to hear more of the snide comments in a book I'm reading!
My final word: Snappy and engaging, I enjoyed this short novel overall. There is some great human insight, a little romance, and some drama to keep it interesting. Everything you need for a quick read. The typos and misplacement of pages is something I would expect from an ARC, but not a published novel sent from Amazon, and I would have been pretty ticked to put money out for this book and then found so many errors in it. Hopefully this issue has been or will be resolved. Despite the snide comments continually made about conservatives, I found this novel worth my while.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour.
Check out the master schedule for the tour:
Tuesday, August 27th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews - spotlight
Wednesday, August 28th: WV Sticher – spotlight
Thursday, August 29th: Never Too Fond of Books - spotlight
Friday, August 30th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World - spotlight
Saturday, August 31st: The Book Bag – spotlight
Sunday, September 1st: Seaside Book Nook – spotlight
Monday, October 8th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Tuesday, October 9th: Man of La Book
Thursday, October 18th: she treads softly
Monday, October 22nd: Never Too Fond of Books
Tuesday, October 30th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Barnes and Noble
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.