Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Review

My manager reviewed this book, "Out of My Skin" by John Haskell (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), and handed a free copy off to me, claiming that I would really like it. I did. Although after reading the book, I am rather suspicious of why my manager would have recommended this for me. From the publisher's website:
Los Angeles. A would-be movie reviewer, looking for romance, takes an assignment to write a magazine article about celebrity look-alikes. After getting to know a Steve Martin impersonator, the writer decides to undertake his own process of transformation and becomes not Steve Martin but a version of him—graceful, charming, at home in the world. Safe in the guise of “Steve,” he begins to fall in love. And that’s when “Steve” takes over. Set in the capital of illusion, this is a story of one man’s journey into paradise—and his attempt to come out the other side.
One must read the relatively short novel below its surface and understand what it is that Haskell is trying to do here. That is, how do we reconcile with who we are, and when we become someone else, how do we find the way to return to our original self. I guess the more concise and simplistic way of describing it would be to say it deals with issues of identity. One thing is determinate when I try and write reviews, and that is that I cannot write reviews.

The story reminded me that life is about taking risks; every encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow; don't be afraid of trying something new and unexpected. I am currently one chapter deep into his previous novel, "American Purgatorio", which met with rave reviews.

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