Unlikely Routes Towards Celebrity: A Review of Royal Young’s “Fame Shark”

Fame Shark by Royal Young Heliotrope Books; 218 p. How does one greet a memoir by someone in his 20s, detailing his lifelong, methodical quest for fame? Depending on your mood, I imagine, you’d either be charmed by it or secretly wish the author would seek psychiatric help. Happily, either reaction is appropriate while reading Fame Shark: Tales of a Lower East Side Hustler, Royal Young’s chronicle of his efforts as a child to become a child actor (resulting in […]

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Lives Unlived and Songs Unwritten: Lori Carson’s “The Original 1982” Reviewed

The Original 1982 by Lori Carson William Morrow & Company; 240 p. Have you ever wished you could re-live your life, going back and fixing one crucial error and then seeing how the rest of it played out? Singer-songwriter Lori Carson gets to play out this enviable scenario in her wistful debut novel The Original 1982, seemingly loosely based on her own decades-long career in music, and her fateful decision in 1982 to have an abortion rather than carry her […]

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Trying to Adopt Without Going Crazy: A Review of Jennifer Gilmore’s “The Mothers”

The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore Scribner; 288 p. There’s plenty of conversation about the adoption crisis in America, but few people can understand just how fraught the process is for prospective parents. Except, that is, for the parents themselves. Usually, they have already exhausted other options, like natural childbirth, which for 7.1 percent or 2.8 million married couples, is impossible. Perhaps the parents have already tried keeping a romance-killing sex calendar, to time things to coincide with the woman’s biological […]

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