ANONYMOUS LAWYER: A NOVEL COMING SOON . . . Jeremy Blachman's novel based on his weblog Anonymous Lawyer is set to arrive in bookstores this month. If you want to sample some of the complimentary advance reviews, many are collected on the reviews page of the Anonymous Law Firm website.
Here's a sample from Booklist Online:
It's a feat to make readers want to spend 300 pages with a jerk, but Blachman pulls it off. Anonymous finds himself in his writing — always fighting his instincts to be a better person — and his insecurity makes his arrogance bearable. This is that great cliche, a great summer read.
I too received an advance copy of Anonymous Lawyer and also found it a great read. As Ernie the Attorney said, it's "friggin' hysterical." One of the reasons I'm looking forward to the book's release is so that I can buy copies for my friends, lawyers and non-lawyers both. In fact, that's one of the nice things about the book--since it's meant to be funny and satirical, not realistic, it requires no previous legal experience to enjoy. Example: my hard-to-please 17-year-old daughter Lydia, who finished Anonymous Lawyer in two days and pronounced it "excellent."
Like it or not, I'll probably have even more to say about Blachman's novel in another post. I want to comment on some of the criticisms about the book by David Giacalone and Ted Frank. I also hope to comment on something that few others have: the way the novel's narrative technique (weblog posts and emails) allows Blachman to construct a critique of weblogs that's completely unique in its form. The interplay between the reality of the novel's emails--the novel's true "reality"--and the gloss put on this reality in the novel's weblog posts becomes an interesting fictional exploration of real-life weblogs, as well as a critique of our own online lives, where we're often either "content-creators" puffing up our roles in the world, or readers, taking in all the subtle and non-so-subtle exaggerations with barely a clue.
That's certainly the case in the novel, where the Anonymous Lawyer uses his weblog as a convenient placeholder for the lies he tells himself and others about his life, his importance in the world, and the choices that he's made in building his career. In the novel, some of the people reading the Anonymous Lawyer's weblog are fooled by these distortions, just as happened in the case of the real-life Anonymous Lawyer weblog. Many readers (amazingly) took it as truth. But those who read the novel won't be taken in by the distortions, since they're cleverly and purposely revealed as the novel progresses. In this way, Blachman is able to satirize both the typical self-deceiving weblog author and the typical myopic weblog reader to great effect--though to a larger consequence, since there's lots of both in everyone, even those of us who don't have a weblog at all or wouldn't be caught dead reading one.
Of course, whatever comments I make about Anonymous Lawyer, including those in this post, are open to the criticism that I'm hugely biased in favor of Blachman and the book's success. It's true, I am. Which brings me back to those reviews I mentioned at the beginning of the post--if you don't trust me on the topic of the Anonymous Lawyer, read a few of those and decide for yourself whether you'll be buying the book.
2. News about Anonymous Lawyer: Will You Do Your Part? (11/29/04)
4. The Anonymous Lawyer Between Covers (3/24/05)