By Benjamin Svetkey
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307949615, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
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In the tradition of David Nicholls and Nick Hornby comes a hilarious, bittersweet, heartwarming debut novel about love of all kinds: first, unrequited, delusional, obsessive, and, ultimately, the kind that lasts.
At 26, Maxwell Lerner thinks he has his whole life figured out. He's got the girl--his high-school sweetheart Samantha. He's got the job--low-level reporter for a prestigious national magazine. He even lives with aforementioned girl in a walk-up studio apartment in the West Village. Life is sweet. Until his aspiring actress girlfriend leaves him for his childhood hero, Johnny Mars, who, as action adventurer "Jack Montana," features in some of Max's favorite movies. Getting dumped for one of his idols sets Max off on a dual mission: to get inside the glamorous world Samantha left him for, and to win her back. But when Samantha's perfect life takes an unexpected turn, Max gets more of an education, in life and in love, than he bargained for.
Author Bio: Benjamin Svetkey has been interviewing celebrities and writing about pop culture forEntertainment Weekly since 1991. He served as the magazine's LA Bureau Chief from 2004 to 2007, and is currently an Editor at Large. He holds the distinction of being the only writer in EW history ever to appear on its cover (as a Star Trek alien). Svetkey has also published stories in The New York TimesMagazine, Rolling Stone, Time International, and Spy magazine, the famous satirical monthly of the late 1980s, where he started his career working as a fact checker. Over the past two decades, Svetkey has interviewed hundreds of the biggest stars in the world, traveled around the globe visiting moviesets, and observed how Hollywood works from inside the studio lots. Svetkey attended the University of Vermont and received his masters degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism. He currently lives in California with his wife, Lenka, and their two-year-old daughter, Chloe. Residence: Santa Monica, CA Hometown: Scarsdale, NY
“Svetkey melds a poignant love story with a witty satire of Hollywood life. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this playful and moving read will especially appeal to pop-culture fans.”
“Leading Man is a funny, sharp deconstruction of our fame-obsessed, media-savvy culture, a charming love story, and a ridiculously fun read.”
-Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
“Benjamin Svetkey's very funny first novel takes the reader on a zippy ride through the underbelly of entertainment journalism. Any faithful reader of glossy magazines will coo with pleasure at Svetkey's descriptions of the superficial and manufactured world of celebrity and fame, told through the lens of the girl who got away.”
-Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
"If you read this book: You will laugh at Svetkey's gleeful skewering of our celebrity and media-obsessed culture. You will try to guess which celebrities Svetkey is really writing about from his years as a journalist at Entertainment Weekly. And when you least expect it, you will realize his true mission: to tell a stunningly moving love story. Which he manages to do in spades."
-Liz Tuccillo, author of How to Be Single and co-author of He's Just Not That Into You
“Having spent two decades in the shiny dark heart of the infotainment complex, Ben Svetkey has applied his knowing, bemused eye and ear to Hollywood and media absurdities to produce that rare thing, a coming-of-age satire with heart.”
-Kurt Andersen, author Turn of the Century and True Believers
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org