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American Mermaid: A Novel (edició 2023)
de Julia Langbein (Autor)
Informació de l'obra
American Mermaid: A Novel de Julia Langbein
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This is a metafictional story within a story about a high school English teacher whose best‑selling mermaid novel gets optioned for a Hollywood movie. It’s full of satirical humor about the entertainment biz and tosses in a little feminism and climate change activism too. I think the idea was to make it a mad cap comedy/adventure but all I know is that I had trouble following the plot. Maybe it was too meta or too millennial for me. Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways
Julia Langbein is so wickedly talented that I think she could make anything funny. With her first novel, American Mermaid, she has chosen to lampoon Hollywood, the book industry, teaching, teenagers, and men among other things. In it, Penelope Schleeman has quit her high school teaching job to move to Hollywood after her first novel, American Mermaid, hits it big and she is asked to help write the screenplay. Langbein intersperses chapters of the fictional American Mermaid with Penelope’s struggles in LA with her scriptwriting partners, her agent, and going to parties to network. Midway through the novel begins to lag a bit, but Langbein manages to pull it back together to give readers a laugh-out-loud but ultimately serious novel about capitalism, the environment, the entertainment industry, and how to find happiness.
"A brilliantly funny and razor-tongued debut which follows a writer lured to Los Angeles to adapt her feminist mermaid novel into a big-budget action film, who believes her heroine has come to life to take revenge for Hollywood's violations. Penelope Schleeman, a consistently broke Connecticut high school teacher, is as surprised as anyone when her sensitive debut novel, "American Mermaid"-the story of a wheelchair-bound scientist named Sylvia who discovers that her withered legs are the vestiges of a powerful tail-becomes a bestseller. Penelope soon finds herself lured to LA by promises of easy money to co-write the "American Mermaid" screenplay for a major studio with a pair of male hacks. As the studio pressures Penelope to change "American Mermaid" from the story of a fierce, androgynous eco-warrior to a teen sex object in a clam bra, strange things start to happen. Threats appear in the screenplay draft; siren calls lure people into danger. When Penelope's screenwriting partners try to kill Sylvia off entirely in a bitterly false but cinematic end, matters off the page escalate. Is Penelope losing her mind, or is Sylvia among us? American Mermaid follows a young woman braving a world of casual smiles and ruthless calculation, where she discovers a beating heart in her own fiction--a creature she'll do anything to protect. By turns both a comic and fabulously insightful tale of two female characters in search of truth, love, and self-acceptance as they move between worlds without giving up their voices"--
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Fes-te Autor del LibraryThing.
This was a surprise for me. I don’t usually choose to read fantasy, and am cautious about debuts, but the description sounded too good to pass up, and the book turned out to be clever, entertaining, witty, and hard to put down. It’s a book within a book, and a screenplay also makes an appearance. The characters were likable (and the villain was appropriately evil).
I loved the way symbols and themes appeared and reappeared in the various platforms – the actual book written by Julia Langbein, the fictional novel written by main character Penny, the screenplay adapted by Hollywood scriptwriters. And there was even a mystery as to who was actually editing the screenplay.
I tried to describe the story to a friend but discovered it sounded convoluted and confusing and it’s so much better than I could explain. I think it’s best to just read and let the novel/book/screenplay take you where they want you to go – very much like floating on a current in the ocean. And with a story about mermaids, of course there are lots of references to oceans, riptides, and even the Starbucks logo. But there are also humorous observations about teenage girls, satiric portrayals of Hollywood, themes of feminist strength, and a subplot about saving the world from climate change.
This is a clever and unique novel that I thoroughly enjoyed, even if I wasn’t sure what actually happened at the conclusion – and that was after I went back and read the last few chapters a second time. It didn’t really matter because it was still a satisfying, “fabulously insightful tale of two female characters in search of truth, love, and self-acceptance as they move between worlds without giving up their voices.” I highly recommend. ( )