1.9.11

The pleasures and pitfalls of a Kindle Single


Waiting for my flight to take off yesterday, I was scouting for a quick read to download on my Kindle and decided to try one of their new Kindle Singles: How To Not Succeed In Show Business By Really Trying, Claudia Lonow's shocking and hilarious...um...

I don't know what to call it. Bookling? Embryo? I laughed out loud and really loved her writing, but this isn't a book. And it's not a short story. It's a clever, funny word zygote that starts to tell a story, then lurches to an abrupt halt just when the reader has become fully engaged.

Billed as a "teeny tiny show biz memoir", How To Not Succeed... rambles a bit about her childhood, including a few mortifying anecdotes about her wannabe actor parents, then talks a little about her acting career without really saying anything, then takes us on a misadventure at a sex club. Lonow is smart and funny a la Chelsea Handler, but the truncated format and almost insights make the piece, as well written as it is, about as satisfying as a mouthful of uncooked chicken.

I'm open to giving other Kindle Singles a try, but this very clearly illustrates my worst fear about *quick and easy* e-pubbing: the fatally premature birth of what could have been a great book. I truly hope Lonow is able to spin this thing into a book deal and that she can sustain the pace and creativity she started with. If I'd downloaded this as a Kindle sample, I would have clicked through to buy the book. It wasn't the buck-ninety-nine that matters; I was in the mood for and expected something complete and fully crafted. A memoir, no matter how teeny tiny, needs a beginning, middle and end.

Not just a begi--

I feel like the author was done an injustice here. She's very talented, very funny, and willing to go way out there. She somehow manages to make some extremely unfunny aspects of her life absolutely side-splitting. But instead of offering some form of redemption or enlightenment, a sense of completion or that sense of future that makes for a satisfying read, this just sort of drove off a cliff.

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