I came to Too Good To Be True from a review in a magazine. I can't remember which magazine, but I adore the cover art of this book and it is about a writer's journey after success has failed so I jumped on it. Benjamin Anastas had some literary success at the end of the 90's and then is attempting to claw his way back despite his second novel's luke-warm reception.
I had several issues with this short memoir.
One seems to be common in the men's writer memoir book that I have read a bit of this year: the writer does not find the need to have a day job for their creative endeavors, despite having a child. If they were single and child-free, then I could smile at your plight to keep your New York City apartment and have no job security. If you are in your late twenties then to me it is a bummer but an acceptable act to carry your change to the coinstar machine in order to pay for gas. Not so much when you have a kid. Now I am not suggesting that it isn't ok to be poor and be a parent, or if someone is unable to work enough to feed their kid. But I will not and cannot feel bad for Anastas when he, an able-body adult, does not get any job he can get so he can buy the food his kid wants.
The apparent reason that Anastas does not get a day job is the other big problem that I have with this memoir. He wants to be a literary success but does not seem to need to be a writer. He talks about writing as if it has always been something he forces himself to do because he wants the perks of writing a well beloved book. But, I feel no love of writing from him. For some reason he wants that career so badly but he doesn't communicate the way that writing moves him. Without great love or obsession, the sympathetic struggling artist is a hard sell. Which is a shame, because I can glean from this book that Anastas does have skill with writing.
I'm not even going to touch the relationship issues this guy has - ok no, I lie, he tells his ex-wife (pregnant by him) that if she goes away on vacation with another man that she is KIDNAPPING HIS UNBORN BABY.
In other news, my lack of laptop has been solved by Black Friday madness so now back to my regular postings!