Raw: A Love Story by Mark Haskell Smith
Grove Press / Black Cat
December 3, 2013; 352 Pages
Sepp Gregory, a reality-TV hunk and one of People magazine's "sexiest men alive," is on tour to promote his debut novel. Not that Sepp's actually read the book—he doesn't have to, he lived it! And everyone just wants him to take his shirt off.
The book has hit the bestseller list and is even getting rave reviews from serious critics. Aside from Harriet Post, that is. One of the blogosphere's most respected literary minds, Harriet fears that the novel's reception means the end of civilization is upon us. Determined to pen an expose on the publishing industry, Harriet hijacks the book tour and uncovers the ghostwriter. Reality and "reality" collide, and a tragic accident sends Sepp and Harriet off on a sex-fueled road-trip through the southwest. Raw: A Love Story is Mark Haskell Smith at his raucous best, dangerously sexy and wickedly funny. (from Amazon.com)
I know what you're thinking... why on earth is Robin telling us about this book? It's not the kind of thing she usually reviews or even reads! Reality TV? Sex-fueled road-trip? Has she lost her mind?
Nahhh, it's nothing like that. This is simply a case of a cover catching my eye and being in the mood for a trashy diversion! Instead of grabbing the latest Jackie Collins (rich, beautiful people behaving badly), I ended up with Mark Haskell Smith. And while they are actually nothing alike (except for lots of sex) it's the same kind of guilty pleasure.
Now let me tell you about the book. It is astonishingly good. Really. It's fast paced and kept me quite entertained. In fact there are a couple of scenes that made me laugh out loud. One in particular involving Viagra and a book signing gave me a great case of the giggles.
Raw is more than just reading junk food. It got me thinking by providing an unexpected view of reality TV vs. the "real" reality. Harriet (the literary blogger) is so determined to expose the ghostwriter of Sepp (the hot star's) book that along the way she finds her (educated, high brow) ideals brought into question. Could it be that she actually has things in common with the ghostwriter and even (gasp) the stars themselves? As the story unfolds you feel Harriet's exasperation and frustration as she finds herself in one bizarre/ridiculous/absurd situation after another. Sepp on the other hand is facing his own issues (remember the Viagra?). I wasn't sure if I felt sorry for him because he's just so dimwitted or if maybe he's the one who actually has the whole game figured out!
What made this enjoyable for me is the mix of trash and treasure. It's the bits of reality TV that you can't turn off, but will never admit to watching blended with Antiques Roadshow. I'm sure that it's not for everyone. The language and sex are both pretty raunchy and there's a gratuitous amount of each. If you're not bothered by those things and are looking for a quick snack than go ahead and give this a try. It might be just the perfect tid-bit to hold you over until the next "serious novel" comes along!
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Wishing you all the happiness words can bring!
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