Friday, July 5, 2013

The Holden Age:

If you're looking for motivation in all of this, here it is. Decided to move Los Angeles fifteen days after I buried my father, seven days after I discovered a drawer filled with his writings—six screenplays, eleven short films, one play, a few short stories, and one unfinished book abandoned after less than four chapters. He worked in advertising as a copywriter, but I never knew he wrote like that.

That's the opening paragraph for the Holden Age of Hollywood. That paragraph is not available in the Amazon preview of the book, which surprises me because it's my second favorite part. At a high concept level, the Holden Age is Moby Dick, with a great writer taking the place of a great white whale.

The great writer is Holden Meyer. His screenplays are sure blockbusters and the studios all want to get one of his scripts under contract. Meyer, however, has dropped out. He hates Hollywood. He now submits his work under pen names to see if anyone can actually tell a great screenplay from a bad one without his real name to tip them off. Anybody that identifies one of his screenplays under his pen name is said to have found a Holden ticket. The main character is obsessed with find the next Holden Meyer screenplay.

The main character is hard for me to relate to. He has a gorgeous girlfriend and is able to spend outrageous sums of money on his obsession with nary a qualm. Moreover he's unemployed. He has so much money he could leave his job to focus full time on his obsession without the necessity of making a living. His father evidently left a substantial inheritance.

That's why the opening is my second favorite part because it gives me a reason to like the main character. My suggestion for the movie version of this work, is to give the main character additional problems to make him more sympathetic. At the very least, he should have some money problems.

My favorite part of the book is the conflict resolution at the end. The main character is forced to choose between his obsession and love. It's the character arc that makes this novel work.

I can tell the author poured his heart and soul into this book. It must have taken years to write and driven him half mad. It's a brilliant first novel and I thank him for writing it and giving me the opportunity to read it.

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