Well, I’ve gotta hand it to this book, it has one hell of a unique title. As for the story goes, I’m not really sure what just happened.
What’s it About?
My name is Mark Manilow. I am a LA screenwriter. Here’s my recipe for a cocktail called “Romantic Hollywood Sex Comedy.” Start with my estranged wife, who left me two years ago to become a juggler. Pour in the ensuing emotional tailspin conjoined with my brutal case of writer’s block. Mix with my last-gasp writing job, a ridiculous porn flick called Broken Boner. Add in the Broken Boner porn star, who seduces me into an ill-fated partnership. Throw in the gun-toting producer and eccentric Montecito billionaire who hire me to adapt the phonebook into a movie. Combine with the return of my headaches and a trip to an ancient Chinese healer, where I meet the healer’s beguiling granddaughter—my monkey wrench. Serve with wonderment as to whether or not I’ll find a way to settle things with the juggler, break it off with the porn star, and fall in love with the monkey wrench…or if anyone will stop laughing long enough to notice.
So Mark is a screenwriter, and from what I can tell, he’s not a very good one. He’s only written one mildly successful script which has been shelved for all eternity due to some kind of Hollywood mumbo jumbo. He’s a bit down in the dumps trying to think up the premise for his next story when he gets a shot to write the script for a porn film. Just as Mark is starting to warm up to the idea of being the next big name in porn writing, the director of the film informs Mark that he just doesn’t have what it takes to write a porno. I’m sorry but if the guy can’t write porn, I question if he can write anything else.
Mark meets a plethora of different characters throughout the novel, and each one is crazier than the last. In my opinion, the personas were too outlandish to be believable, which took away from how much you could really connect with any of them. The entire novel culminates in one tediously long, drawn-out scene in which practically all of the characters from the book come together for a reading of Mark’s newest script, Phone Book: the Movie.
That’s right! The guy who couldn’t write porn wrote a movie script inspired by the phone book. This script reading is one of the most ridiculous scenes I’ve ever come across, and escalates to include an orgy and attempted murder, although nobody really seems to care that either is taking place. Unfortunately, what I assume was an attempt at hilarity left me feeling more confused than amused.
Although it was unique to see how this struggling writer goes from attempting to write porn to adapting the phone book for a feature film, the writing did annoy me at times. Firstly, there were way too many anecdotes which added nothing to the storyline, including a multitude of flashbacks and possibly imagined scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with flashbacks, but they have to tie in somehow to the overall plot.
The second element which I barely noticed at first, but had me on the brink of chucking my Kindle across the room by the end, was the addition of rambling lists. For example, did you know that Mark has written dramas, comedies, dramedies, romantic comedies, sophomoric comedies, teen comedies, family comedies, action, adventure, action-adventure, thrillers, sci-fi, and westerns? He also talks about producers and directors and writers and actors and agents and managers and painters and carpenters and this guy really needs to learn the use of etc.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Should you read it? It was a little out there for my taste, and has convinced me to never move to LA if there’s even a smidgen of a chance I’ll meet people like this out there.
Smut Level: Believe it or not, the absolute funniest scene was when Mark visited a beautiful mansion which actually contained sets for multiple porn flicks. An amusing experience to say the least.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Laugh Riot Press. 390 Pages.