The Famous One
I had the privilege of being introduced to a new author’s foray into fiction. “The Famous One,” a novel by Nicole Petrino-Salter tells a story that captivated me and drew chapter by chapter the main character’s life and his experiences, and wouldn’t let me go. Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr at his birth, and, from that day forward, his life is plagued by conflict. One can’t help but infer that there is something special about this boy, but, despite his potential, his circumstances and his own choices lead him down many a wrong path as he grows into adolescence and manhood.
As Joey grows up, he erects a wall to prevent his emotions from interfering with his life, but that has the side-effect of keeping the reader out of his heart as well. I barley know this boy, and I want to. I know what he looks like, I know he is intelligent, and I get the impression he is depressed, but I don’t see into the character. I don’t really know him, or the other characters for that matter. When a talent scout for a film production company “discovers” Joey, he is catapulted into national fame and acclaim. His reckless lifestyle and its inevitable consequences follow him into the limelight, and he finds himself on the turnpike to disaster…until a letter from a stranger introduces him to Jesus, and his life changes forever. His transformation also leads to a slightly different writing style in the second half of the novel.
The author starts adding snippets from what I assume is Joey’s personal diary. I wish Ms. Petrino-Salter had introduced the diary samples much sooner in the novel. The first one I came across confused me; I thought it was the beginning or part of the movie script he was reading. It took me a while to figure out what those inserts actually were.
However, these snippets are good, sometimes very good, and they add characterization for Joey. One of my favorites is on page 187. It starts:
Growth…I didn’t even know I needed it…yet I was trying to get through a wall to find it…there was no room for breakthrough…until one touch…one sound from your lips…and what I had seen as a wall was merely a cloud and your breath chased it all away…now the sun shines in my face…and I feel this smile come over me…
This novel has a somber, almost stream-of-conscience feeling. Sometimes it works, and some times it is a bit hard to follow. But I am not so sure that is the fault of the writer or the fault of how our generation has learned to read. It would have helped to have a little more hint as to what age the main character was a times.
Joey’s testimonies after being saved are wonderful. Very natural, no “Christian-ese”, humble. Humility is the main characteristic that comes through in Joey, pre and post “conversion”. His dialog and voice reflect his humility, but, unfortunately, they don’t show him maturing as he ages.
The second half of “The Famous One” contains more dialog than the first half, which is good and adds characterization. In spite of the style of writing, which is different from what I am used to, I still found myself compelled to keep picking up this book and give it high marks. Give it a chance and you too will find yourself compelled by Joey’s story.
Reviewer – Catrina Bradley
Publisher – Pleasant Word
Publication Date – February 2008
This entry was posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 9:54 am and is filed under Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
- No related posts found.