Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Hardcover)

A Memoir

By David Goodwillie

Algonquin Books, 9781565124653, 356pp.

Publication Date: June 2, 2006

List Price: 23.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Fresh out of college and following a brief and disastrous stint playing minor league baseball, David Goodwillie moves to New York intent on making his mark as a writer.

Arriving in Manhattan in the mid-nineties, Goodwillie quickly falls into one implausible job after another. He becomes a private investigator, imagining himself as a gumshoe, a hired gun—only to realize that he's more adept at bungling cases than at solving them. When, in his stint as a freelance journalist, he unveils the Mafia in a magazine exposé, he succeeds only in becoming a target of their wrath. As a copywriter for a sports auction house, he imagines documenting the great histories hidden in priceless artifacts but finds himself forced to write about a lock of Mickey Mantle's hair. Even when he seems to break through, somehow becoming the sports expert at Sotheby's auction house—appearing on major news networks, raking in a hefty salary—he's lured away by the promise of Internet millions...just in time for the dot-com crash.

Teeming with the vibrancy of a city in hyperdrive, Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time recounts a dizzying and enthralling search for authenticity in a cynical, superficial—and suddenly dangerous—age.

In his heartbreaking and hilarious struggle to become a big-city writer, Goodwillie becomes something more: an important voice of the lost generation he so elegantly describes.

About the Author

DAVID GOODWILLIE’s fiction has appeared in Swink, BlackBook, and other publications, and he is a contributor to the essay collection My Father Married Your Mother (Norton, Spring 2006). He lives in New York City.

Praise For Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: A Memoir

"[An] exuberant and rollicking first memoir . . . one that restores lightness, honesty and enthusiasm to the genre."
New York Post