The Man Who Ate the 747
By Ben Sherwood
(Bantam, Paperback, 9780553382624, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 2, 2004
This is a story of the greatest love, ever. An outlandish claim, outrageous perhaps, but trust me--
And so begin the enchanting, unforgettable tale of J. J. Smith, Keeper of the Records for The Book of Records, an ordinary man searching for the extraordinary. J.J. has clocked the world's longest continuous kiss, 30 hours and 45 minutes. He has verified the lengthiest single unbroken apple peel, 172 feet and 4 inches. He has measured the farthest flight of a champagne cork from an untreated, unheated bottle 177 feet 9 inches. He has tasted the world's largest menu item, whole-roasted Bedouin camel.
But in all his adventure from Australia to Zanzibar, J.J. has never witnessed great love until he comes upon a tiny windswept town in the heartland of America, where folks still talk about family, faith, and crops. Here, where he last expects it, J.J. discovers a world record attempt like no other: Piece by piece, a farmer is eating a Boeing 747 to prove his love for a woman.
In this vast landscape of cornfields and lightning storms, J.J. is doubly astounded to be struck by love from the same woman, Willa Wyatt of the honey eyes and wild blond hair. It is a feeling beyond measure, throwing J.J.'s carefully ordered world upside down, proving that hears, like world records, can be broken, and the greatest wonders in life can not be qualified.
Richly romantic, whimsical, and uplifting, The Man Who Ate the 747 is a flight of fancy from start to finish. It stretches imagination, bends physics and biology, but believe it just a little and you may find yourself reaching for your own records, the kind that really count. Written with tenderness, originality, and insight, filled with old-fashioned warmth and newfangled humor, it is an extraordinary novel, a found treasure that marks the emergence of a major storytelling tale.
Ben Sherwood is senior producer of the NBC Nightly News. His nonfiction writing has appeared in many national publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Educated at Harvard and Oxford, he now lives in New York, where he is at work on his next novel.
“Ben Sherwood is an amazing writer with the rare gift of evoking genuine emotion. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is touching, wise, and full of hope, everything a wonderful novel should be. Read it – you’ll be glad you did.”
--Nicholas Sparks, bestselling author
“The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of the most magical love stories I've ever read. In his wonderfully inventive way, Ben Sherwood has written a shining affirmation of life.”
-- Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees
"Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Refreshingly romantic, dangerously good fun, hugely addictive. All too infrequently I pick up a book that is a pure pleasure to read….Intelligent, moving, and sweetly wise, Ben Sherwood is all set to find his way into the soft heart of American literature."
--Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
"Sweet and inspirational.... [with] humor all his own."
--The Daily News (NY)