Monday, 22 June 2009

The Monday Review :: 'A declaration about human reality...'

Well, it’s been quite a week for my little old book. A few more reviews are in. Two more on Amazon, the first from the lovely Amanda, who says:

‘Beautifully crafted and practically impossible to put down, you'll find yourself with Stan on a journey that will have you laughing out loud while wiping away tears of sadness - and then laughing out loud again. And although the book is certainly sexy, the profound climax of the book has nothing to do with sex. But it will move you.’

The second from ‘Colette’, who describes the book as ‘a declaration about human reality'. Coo...

'There are vignettes here that everyone will relate to and some that I sincerely hope no one will experience. It's a life story that is unusual in its honesty. Renew your interest in humanity by examining the life of one brave writer, it will help restore your hope and your good humour.’

Then there was a brief mention at the excellent Private Secret Diary:

‘I’ve been sniggering stupidly at Bête de Jour’s book, especially the bits about Dartford. (If you are an angry resident of Dartford, you can ‘search inside’ via the link, and type in ‘Dartford’, and then perhaps get your face in the local paper, holding the book, with a cross expression on your face)... very much recommended.’

I must say, I would love that to happen.

Perhaps most interesting, however, is my first bad review. Well, not entirely bad as it does include the eminently pull-outable: ‘…the most engaging blog-turned-book I've read… The writing, as on the blog, is a delight. He's erudite, acerbic, funny. He has a turn of phrase to love (for the entertainment) and hate (because you're jealous)…’ as well as an exhortation to buy the book. So it’s not entirely bad, although it does have some bad bits in it, including the words ‘two-dimensional’, ‘saccharine’ and ‘cliché’. Oh, and some slightly unhinged talk about the nature of reality.

The author of this review, one 'Beleagured Squirrel' (BS for short) has written to me on numerous occasions and has repeatedly expressed - and at length - her suspicions concerning the fact that I managed to get a book deal so quickly.

Well, perhaps now’s the time to own up. There is a reason I was able to get a book deal so quickly. And you won’t like it. The fact is - drum roll - I am Rupert Murdoch’s grandson.

Think about it. That’s how I was able to get a deal with Harper Collins. That’s how this feature made its way onto the Sky website yesterday. And that’s why I’ll never be tracked down by one of The Times Blogfinder General henchmen. Not because I'm not important. No. But because of Uncle Keith. As I sometimes call him. (My friend NotKeith is also three halves Murdoch. Hence the name. You see?)

I’m only telling you this now because I know you’ll assume I’m joking.

I’m not joking.

The things you do for love, eh, readers? Just look at me. Jesus God. It’s like I don’t even understand the meaning of the word dingity. Dognasty. Whatever.

Alma took the photo. Two days later it was on the telly, teasing Sky’s web content. I didn’t see it but I heard. (I don’t have Sky. Roop says it’s a load of crap anyway. He says TV gives you cancer. Newspapers too.) So anyway, Alma was amazed when I told her that a photo she’d taken was being broadcast to millions, but only very briefly amazed and in a very distracted manner, because Columbo was on and he was doing a limerick.

Thankfully the Sky article is mostly my own words, but naturally, what with it being one of Uncle Roop’s crowd, there were a couple of misquotes and one or two which were totally made up, but nothing to get upset about.

Next week, I show my arse crack on Fox News. And nobody notices.

I am joking, by the way.

But now I'm off to the BBC. That's true.

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Wisewebwoman said...

Do you know what I love about you BDJ?
The fact that you have fame howling at your door and you haven't forgotten us, your faithful blogbuds.
Like some other bloggers who had book deals and flounced off and forgot their sodden, moaning masses.

Peter Daniel Marsay said...

That must be so satisfying getting reviews, good or bad I think. But especially good obviously... I created my blog only to cover a particular week of my life, while I'm doing a drug trial in hospital. I am enjoying it though, but don't have many readers that I know of... I'd appreciate if you took a look and voiced your comments on whether my life might be interesting enough to continue writing about! Oh and you gained me as a reader because of that Sky News bit by the way. :¬) Bye for now. .P.D.M.

Valerie said...

This may sound a little odd, but I don't care if what you write is 100% reality or not. When I said your book was "heart-true", I meant that each of us can find connection with it, and I don't think it really matters at that level whether what we're connecting with is Stan the memoirist or Stan the author because, at heart, either way we are connecting with Stan the person. So I don't worry my head over whether things you say on the blog are "true" or not. I accept them and they're true for me. All the same, if I were to someday find out that some of them were a bit exaggerated, I would not feel betrayed.

Our lives are all so complicated. You could say I'm a libertine who has had mad sexual escapades and defies social conventions. You could also say I'm the "good daughter" of the family who overly respects authority and doesn't drink enough. They would both be true and yet neither one describes me terrifically well.

(Not sure where I'm going with this. Maybe I just like to mention sex in people's blog comments.)

I have to say, though, that sometimes reality is a little less believable than fiction — and that could be what's happening in reviews where folks say they don't believe your self-description of your looks, or your family history, or the events of the last year or so.

Valerie said...

I forgot to point out that while being the grandson of Rupert Murdoch would be tricky given your reported age (unless he has had earlier progeny than public accounts allow), having a career doing various kinds of writing and eventually creating a book and getting a book deal is not, actually, all that hard to swallow.

No one really wants to hear that a book deal is a combination of hard work, talent, and dumb luck. But I remain convinced that it is.

MsMarmitelover said...

Well do you think you can put in a word for me with Rupert?
Also the paper bag is a good option. I keep being asked on telly and how do you protect your anonymity?
But it'd have to be feminine...say a Harvey Nicks carrier bag or something...

Anonymous said...

Nice shoulders; delightful hands, Sir.


Michael said...

You remind my of how Thomas Pynchon looked on The Simpsons.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

"a book deal is a combination of hard work, talent, and dumb luck."

Indeed it is. There's no doubt that the author of BdJ has a lot of talent and has done plenty hard work. I was only suggesting that some of the work may have been done before he claimed it was - ie this was planned in advance.

Anonymous said...

I don't exist!

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

PS I'm a (published) writer myself, so I have some idea how slow the industry is. I also know how much time and work it takes - on the part of both writer and editor(s), not to mention all the other people involved in designing/producing a book - to produce a final polished work. Bete claimed to start writing in January, and the first review was published in May. This is really unusual. But not impossible; I do accept that.

lilianavonk said...

Darn that Valerie! She said just about everything I wanted to say, and far more lucidly into the bargain!

But I must admit to being a tad confounded at all these folks who demand your blog and/or book to be some model of verisimilitude. Jeez, peeps, entitlement issues much?

There are elements of my past that I've mythologised (and of course more than a few demonised, but justifiably so) to the extent that I've honestly forgotten what's true and what was originally embellishment.

And hence reality is subjective, and anyone else's reality doubly so. I honestly couldn't give a rat's ass if everything you say is true or not; the truth is in the telling, IMO. :)

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

"I honestly couldn't give a rat's ass if everything you say is true or not; the truth is in the telling, IMO."

Ah yes, but if the story itself is hard to believe, then the work as it stands becomes less satisfying. In exactly the same way, fiction is less satisfying / enjoyable when it's unbelievable, so in that sense the realness of Bete is irrelevant. Although I would argue that people are more likely to suspend their critical faculties when they're told what they're reading is true.

Catofstripes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mel said...

Please tell us when you'll be on Radio Ulster, Stan, please, please,please,please,please,please,please,please,please, please,please,please,please,please.
Yeah, look, ok - so I'm buying the book tomorrow- I promise! Just tell me when you'll be on.
(Resisting urge to go 'Ah go wannn' in the style of Mrs Doyle)
Thankoo.. :0)

Maureen said...

What's up with the Squirrel anyway, seems a bit much with the criticism and intrusive concern. Unless it's an alter Bete, the grandson of Rupert, pulling our leg.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

By the way, all this stuff about Murdoch's grandson... as far as I know, nobody has accused you of being on some kind of privileged fast track to publication. I've no trouble in believing the book was published on its own merits. I just think it might have been written before you said it was. Then again, now... after you've got all defensive about it for no apparent reason...