Review by Ilhem
AUTHOR: Barry Brennessel
PUBLISHER: MLR Press
BLURB: Film student Micah Malone learns the hard way that when life sucks, you can’t just yell “Cut! Let’s do another take!”
His grades are a box-office bomb. His friends create more drama than a soap opera. And his love life needs a laughtrack. While there’s no script to dictate what happens next, can Micah find the direction he needs? Life, after all, is no film school project. But it is great source material. The only source material.
Let the cameras roll. Micah’s quirky story has begun filming.
“I don’t think anyone’s ever fully prepared for a Micah.”
Meet Micah Etienne Malone who’s got – to put it nicely – a very intense, very busy inner life.
Imagine a mind that is one big movie quiz, that doesn’t categorize, doesn’t prioritize information, a mind full of voices, images and words that rush from all directions in an overcrowded Broadway show stage: that’s where you’ll spend the span of 312 pages, if you decide to read this book.
At 2%, I asked myself: what is that?!
At 5%, I was dazed and perplexed.
At 10%, I thought that the author overdid it and thus, it was a good try but a mishit.
At 15%, I thought that he was doing it on purpose. Or he was high on something.
At 20%, I was perplexed again and looking for a clue.
At 27%, I realized that there was actually a story told in there, that I liked the imperfect Micah and that I had laughed out loud many times already.
I stopped trying to get each movie nerd joke, embraced the lunacy and I went on with the flow.
I swallowed the remaining 73% in one go.
The story is simple really, it’s about Micah going through life – its joys and ordeals; it is about friendship like you live it in your early twenties, when you can not decide anything, love, laugh, cry, commit, go to the bathroom without the gang you’re attached to the hip with. It’s about people and relationships entering adulthood.
Contrary to all appearances, Micah is very single minded, self-centered and childish as he is, reading the world and his interactions through his insecurities and his protective filters.
The narrative matches the paradox. It is very well structured and I’m now marveling at the author’s focus in giving voice in a mess that progressively makes sense in characterizing and telling the story of not only one character but of a whole casting.
Sex and love are at the core of Micah’s pre-occupations but the story doesn’t focus on a growing romance. Tinseltown is very much an encounter with a character and very special.
You will hate it or love it and I can only encourage you to give it a try and see which buttons it pushes for you.
For my part, it was a puzzling, lively, funny, sweet, sad, cute (Micah’s favorite word) whirlwind that I loved being sucked in.
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