Mailer the Writer/Mailer the Opportunity?

“Dwayne Raymond, a young writer who was waiting table at a restaurant in Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, where Mailer spent most of his final years.”

Since Mornings With Mailer (Harper Perennial) is about Raymond’s time as Norman Mailer’s assistant, leading up to the writers death in 2007, was I skeptical even before I crack open the book?

Sure.

I could argue that being an even semi-successful writer comes down to luck, and the ability to seize an opportunity. What you do with those things is up to you. In Raymond’s case, he decided to write about an experience that was just a stroke of luck: meeting, and later befriending Mailer, all because he waited on his table. That is chance, not skill. ”

I’m going to fault him for that?

I could, and to be honest, I did, prior to reading through Mornings With Mailer.  In this age of tell-all books about affairs with politicians, and Going Rogue, it’s incredibly easy to hate on just about any book with the word “memoir” attached to it.  But then I asked myself, “who the hell thinks they are going to make a milli writing about hanging out with old Norman Mailer?”

I seriously doubt Raymond does and once I got over that initial skepticism, I read Mornings With Mailer, finding it quite enjoyable.  There is hardly any scandal in the book, and really nothing that “juicy”.  What you get is a picture of a literary giant in his golden years, and his bond with a younger practitioner of his craft.