Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just in case you needed another reason to purchase Elliot Alagash -

We hired Simon Rich at SNL because of his amazing short fiction. When he told us he was writing a novel we made it clear that were it not up to his previous high standard we would have no choice but to terminate his employment. Well, I just finished Elliot Allagash and I’m happy to say, he still has his job.
Elliot Allagash takes place in eighth grade and this is great news for anyone familiar with Simon’s writing. Every comedy writer I know went through eighth grade but none render the details of it quite like Simon. Familiar schoolyard archetypes from nerds to bullies to hot girls all appear but they’re sharper than ever.
And it would be enough if Simon just spent his book examining the status ladder of Glendale Academy but fortunately there is so much more. Because the title character, Elliot Allagash is one of the best villains I’ve ever encountered in fiction. By age thirteen his offenses include “vandalism, truancy, unprovoked violence, drunkenness, hiring an imposter to take a standardized test, and blackmail.” In a classic deal-with-the-devil arrangement Elliot offers to make Seymour, our hero, the most popular kid in the school with the simple condition that Seymour must do everything Elliot says. What makes this journey delightful is that Elliot is extremely rich.
The details of Elliot’s wealth are joyous to read and too numerous to count. My favorite—the Allagash family belongs to the Seven Circles Club, a club so exclusive that they denied George Washington’s only son membership because “his father was a farmer.”
A lot of very successful adults I know still wish they could re-live high school as someone popular. Reading this hilarious morality tale about the cost of that popularity makes me happy that I went through my high school years as an outsider. And it makes me even happier that Simon Rich did.”
-Seth Meyers' review of Elliot Alagash

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