introducing readers to writers since 1995

May 22, 2004

Life Is a Pop of the Cherry When You're a Boy

by Ron Hogan

While Laura Miller uses her last-page perch at NYTBR to review the short, sad trajectory of lad lit, stylish Ginia Bellafante looks in on Ben Mezrich, whose thinly fictionalized tales of young guys and their financial hijinks are doing much, much better than Booty Nomad and Love Monkey (which are apparently the only two lad lit books in existence but were sufficient enough to form a trend). Gleefully declaring, "I write for people who don't read," Mezrich's laughing all the way to the bank--for the second time in his literary career:

His medical thrillers, among them "Threshold" and "Reaper," which was made into a television movie starring Antonio Sabato Jr., sold well. When he was 26, Mr. Mezrich earned $1.2 million, he said, all of which he spent in seven months. "I didn't buy anything worth more than $5,000, and I don't do drugs," he explained. "I'd do things like wake up at noon on a Wednesday and buy a first-class ticket to Paris and stay in a giant suite and invite all my friends in Europe to come."

Back at the Review, Miller considers why books about boys behaving badly didn't appeal to the women who enjoy "candy-colored, cartoon-bedizened" chick lit and, well, it's not much of a surprise: fictional women who stumble awkwardly through the dating scene and make social mistakes can be viewed sympathetically, while guys who commit similar faux pas come across as boorish, except maybe if they can show off a knowledge of pop music as encyclopedic as Nick Hornby's to make up for any lack of social grace.

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