What do Jonathan Richman, cheeseburgers and Larry David have in common? YES, they are three of my all time favourite things, thank you for asking.
But wait! There's more!
All three also figure into the book I read between midnight and 6:30 this morning, The Comedy Writer, by Peter Farrelly (first chapter!).
I read the book because I went to the library on Sunday afternoon, expecting to pick up my latest request, Charles Willeford's Wild Wives. Even though my online VPL account told me the book was waiting to be picked-up, it wasn't yet on the shelf. I asked at the information desk, and they said the book was in the building, but not yet on the shelf. I would get a phone call when the book was ready to be picked-up.
So I ventured out into library to see what was ready for me to take home. I checked the New Releases shelf first, but it's mostly genre books like fantasy and romance. Pffffff. Into the Mystery section, under the R. I'm still #4 on the waiting list for my next Rebus book, Mortal Causes, but, y'know, I don't necessarily trust the library's computer system. A good detective follows up. A good detective follows through. I'm not really anything of the sort, I just had time on my hands.
So, conclusively, Mortal Causes was not on the shelf on the main floor of the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library at 2:37 p.m. on Sunday. There were however three copies of Fleshmarket Close, including a (presumably) rare North American edition under the title Fleshmarket Alley.
Next I checked the F's under Fiction. Looking for Dan Fesperman's Lie in the Dark. Not there. But The Comedy Writer was on the shelf right above Fesperman's The Prisoner of Guantanamo, and I pulled it down. It took a minute for the author's name to register, particularly since I rarely consider the Farrelly Brothers as seperate entities, if I consider them at all. And it's been a while since I've even seen a Farrelly Bros movie, let alone wanted to. Stuck On You, maybe?
Regardless of what he's done lately, Peter Farrelly wrote an excellent novel. Maybe he should write another, except The Comedy Writer feels pretty autobiographical, so maybe he could write a book about a guy who made a few great movies, and then a bunch of pretty dull ones.
Farrelly's author photo on the back cover (you can tell he's a bigshot, because he gets THE WHOLE back cover) impressed me as well. He kinda looks like a soul singer, a blue-eyed soul singer. Like a less-goofy Paul Young. At first glance, it looks like he's wearing a thick-striped suit, the kind blue-eyed soul singers woulda worn in 1998 (the year the book came out). But a closer look reveals that he's actually wearing pyjamas. Which is what blue-eyed soul singers will be wearing in the year 2112! But what really struck me about the photo was the way Farrelly's wedding band looks totally badass. Even though he's wearing pyjamas.
So, The Comedy Writer. Henry Halloran leaves a stable life and career in Boston to become a Hollywood scriptwriter. "If you open yourself up to things, things happen," he says. So Halloran opens himself up to things. And things happen. And he eats a lot of cheeseburgers. This is the part I identified with the most.