January 3, 2011

A Letter to Steve Martin

Dear Steve Martin,
I love you. You're so smart and creative, talented, clever, accomplished, ingenious...I could go on but you get the idea...I'm a huge fan and always have been. You're one of the funniest people alive, a wonderful actor, an award-winning banjo player, and... an author (I use the term loosely).
I'm currently reading your latest novel, An Object of Beauty, and I have to ask you a question: really???
I know you're an art collector and you obviously have an immense passion for art but this book just feels like a vehicle for you to show off. There's so much extraneous detail about art and artists that doesn't move the story along and a little of this kind of thing lends authenticity but too much of it is self-aggrandizing.
I have to admit I haven't finished the book yet - I've only read 90 pages so far - but I rarely give a book more of my time than that. A story that hasn't engaged me by that time is not worth the effort. For some reason, tho, I'm slogging through. Perhaps just to see how bad it can get. Okay, sorry...that was mean. But tell me about the scene where Lacey's on a train taking some art to a client and an older man comes by and asks if the seat across from her is taken and she says, "Sit down, father figure."
Who talks like that?
So they discuss art (to an excruciating degree) and then they part. And that's the entire scene. Except for the last two sentences: Lacey never knew the man's name until a month later when she saw his photo on the inside of the book's dust jacket. It was John Updike.
What??? What was the point of that? Is John Updike a friend of yours? I hope he shows up later in the book because if he doesn't I cannot imagine what is the purpose of that scene.
(I'm almost finished.)
So then there's the sex scene that prompted me to write this letter. The scene just made me laugh. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be funny. Here's how it goes:
They stood at the window, in the darkened room, in the same posture, without an instinct to relocate, Relocate??? her hand exploring him, unzipping, reaching in, to which he responded by lifting her skirt and pressing the back of his hand against her.
Really? He responds by pressing the back of his hand against her?
...He moved her underwear to one side and his fingers slipped in effortlessly, as though they were being drawn up by osmosis.

Did you have an editor?
Steve, Steve, Steve. You're so smart and creative, talented, clever, accomplished, ingenious... but you do realize the only reason you're getting published is because you're Steve Martin and people like me who (still) love you will buy your book, but if you were John Smith you wouldn't have had a prayer. You do realize that, right?

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