Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ms. Taken Identity: great chick lit

Whether we admit it or not, we all love a little "chick lit" from time to time. To me, it's the same as watching a romantic comedy, also known as a "chick flick". Is this an insult to women? I don't think so. Most of the "chick" media I've read and watched has been witty and engaging, with a somewhat predictable ending, of course, but usually one or two unpredictable twists in the middle. Somebody out there must be reading these books besides me, because they are huge sellers, which esoteric struggling author Mitch Samuel, the protagonist of Ms. Taken Identity discovers when his 700 page debut novel is rejected by every publisher in America, and most agents.
A series of funny events leads Mitch to decide that he can write romantic adventure, but he'll have to do it as a woman. No publisher or author will read romantic fiction written by a man! Mitch acts as the representative of his "cousin" who is a reclusive author, and receives guidance as her manager from the world's premiere author of romantic fiction. So there we have lie #1. Mitch does not have a cousin, he is writing the book himself. In the process of researching the life of what he sees as a shallow, uneducated, materialistic, woman, Mitch meets a woman who he really likes. Unfortunately, the first thing he says to her is a lie, calling himself Jason, and giving a false career, and now he can't take it back. The biggest problem with lie #2? Not only is Mitch falling fast for Marie, but it turns out she is his best friend's sister, who has been living far away for several years, therefor they have never met.
Mixed in with all of the silliness of Mitch keeping track of his lies, are two other more elemental story lines, Mitch's extremely strained relationship with his father, and his skewed feelings on the superiority of education, and thus himself. As Mitch continues his research and meets people outside of academia he learns to make jokes, hang out and just have fun, rather than having every social encounter be a philosophical debate. He loses his smugness and cynicism as he realizes that there really are people in the world who are just nice. It even changes the rhythm of his writing, which he describes as chess-like, each word written with a deliberate, thoughtfulness.
But this writing is different; it's crisper, quicker, more bang bang: get those characters on stage and get them talking or laughing or kissing...Get them living.
Of course Mitch gets caught in both of his lies, but is it before or after his book is accepted by a publisher? Or is it ever finished? Is the writing of popular fiction something Mitch cannot handle? Or does he sacrifice his book for his love of Marie? These are all possibilities that I contemplated while reading Ms. Taken Identity.
Unlike Mitch, Dan Begley, the author of Ms. Taken Identity proudly has his name and photo on the book, as he definitely should. The story is excellent, the characters are multi-faceted, the pop culture references are hysterical, and it is all-together well written. To top off all of this positivity, it is in paperback, great for taking to the park or beach this summer. This is the first novel from Mr. Begley, and I look forward to seeing what he will have for us in the future.
DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY FOR APRIL & OLIVER, WHICH ENDS FRIDAY NIGHT.

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14 comments:

ANovelMenagerie said...

Sounds like MY KIND OF READ! You're so lucky you got to review it!

Sheri

ClassyChassy said...

That one sounds really good to me. I love to read, but haven't had time for much more than a magazine or short chapter recently! Maybe this winter....

Justine said...

ooh, I wanna read this book NOW!

Justine :o )

Jesmi said...

You made this book sound really interesting. Thanks

Mrs. B. Silly said...

This sounds perfect for my upcoming beach vacation. Thank you for the review and recommendation!
I hope you are having a great summer.

Rachel said...

I'd like this book. Put me in the contest.
rconnell94@yahoo.com
Rachel

Clueless_Mama said...

This sounds really cute :) I'd love to win it

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Elizabeth, this sounds very cute and like a fun read. I'd like to put my name in the pot for this one!

Thanks...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Mark said...

I'd like to be entered, thanks

Nikola said...

OMG, this sounds AMAZING! Especially since I'm a guy who loves chick lit... Enter me for this one! rebelprince89@live.com

Justine said...

I want it! I want it!!!

Justine :o )

Mrs. B. Silly said...

Please throw my name in the hat on this book. I was really taken by your review on this one!

Angela said...

Ooohh, this one sounds fun too, please enter me to win this one also!

Angela from Angela's Soliloquy

Nikola said...

I loved it! You can read my review here: http://cunninghamfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/review-ms-taken-identity-by-dan-begley.html