Continuing on with reviews of books that have been made into movies, but don't let that stop you from reading the book.
This book is an enjoyable read about the NYC magazine scene in the now halcyon days when people read magazines. Young is truly funny and yet you are amazed he could hold down a job with the significant amount of partying he described. I caught the movie the other night on cable and was truly mortified by what it was turned into because I remembered this book as being so quick and enjoyable.
I didn't recognize that they based the movie from this book. So yet again I say read the book.
When I first started reading this book, I really thought it was going to be one of those books that I would just give up on before I even reached the middle. The subject matter was so shallow and so out of my realm of reality.
But there are some truly hilarious scenarios. And the author really owns up to his shallowness and transcends it. He was like a George Costanza in the elite publishing world. So many bad choices and self sabotage. But he was and is also very intelligent and comes up with some fascinating insights about the Manhattan elite. I'll never look at Vanity Fair magazine the same again.
Fun read. Glad I didn't give up on it.
From Publisher's Weekly: Seemingly unable to keep from offending everyone he comes in contact with, British-born Young is a misfit in the New York publishing world. He isn't attractive (he calls himself a Philip Seymour Hoffman look-alike, but with bad teeth), he's socially inept without alcohol and, most importantly, he's consumed with the desire to "be somebody." His memoir is a hilarious and scathing insider's view of the world in which Young wishes so badly to fit. Hired by editor Graydon Carter to work at Vanity Fair ("Basically I forgot to fire Toby Young every day for two years"), Young is shocked to find that his journalist colleagues are more awed by celebrity than news and are more likely to cuddle up with publicists than with a smoke and a shot at the local watering hole. The saving grace of Young's tale of his own downward spiral is his ability to lambaste himself along with the New York publishing world. Young's crisp reading of this memoir is highly entertaining and bitter, yet guileless and funny. His hilariously screechy imitations of some of the female heavy hitters of the publishing world (such as Tina Brown and Peggy Siegal) bring out his knack for hyperbole and his boyish, prankster style.
Toby Young sounds like someone I wouldn't want to hang out with based on this book, but he does describe some interesting adventures in his time spent working for Vanity Fair. How he got there, I am not sure (and he doesn't seem to be either), and his attempt to take Manhattan is quite a stunning failure; his painfully gained insight into the culture of New York celebrity and scathing hindsight interpretation of the reasons for his catastrophic Conde Nast career are what makes this worth it. I would agree with USA Today in calling it "a nastily funny read."
Very funny in spots. In the end, though, I found it sad that he wrote off "Americans" based on his experiences with a certain circle of people in Manhattan. Most Americans are better folks than those he hung out with (or tried to) in New York City.