Friday, November 21, 2008

BOOK 14: Shopgirl by Steve Martin (audio)

How timely, with Steve Martin guesting on 30 Rock last night, that I should post his book in my 40 books in a year project today. I enjoy Martin's comedy maybe 30% of the time, mostly because he's so over the top and obvious. I know that's the joke and yet I still don't find it funny. He was good on 30 Rock, a role in which he's half funny and half serious actually makes him funnier.

I was intrigued despite my ambivalence about his comedy to see what kind of chops he had as a writer. Not bad, it turns out. I don't know that a lot of the great authors I've read this year have to look over their shoulder for Martin's shock of white hair, but he does a very good job with character development. He captures or caricatures (I really can't say for lack of knowledge) Los Angeles. And although I didn't write down quotes from this book as I was listening to it, I do remember going back to re-listen to some passages as the phrasing was that good. That's high praise for someone the world thinks of as a boisterous slapstick guy.

Overall, it's thoughtful and layered. They have turned it into a movie in which Steve Martin plays a role alongside Claire Danes. I'll be interested to see it.

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