In Chandler Burr’s debut novel You or Someone Like You he plays on the common joke that people in Hollywood don’t read. Burr’s main character, Anne Rosenbaum is the reserved wife of Howard Rosenbaum, a film studio heavyweight. Weilding a Columbia literature PhD, by accident Anne becomes Hollywood’s latest craze, hosting a book group for the who’s who of Hollywood from screenwriters to producers. Through her book group she addresses the big issues from love and parenting to religion, politics and class. Reading it you will also add to your reading list as she assigns book after book to her groups.
However, as Anne is getting a personal assistant and a photo shoot and article in Vanity Fair, her family life is crumbling in the background. This is a story of the power of literature, and the strength of love in the face of adversity. The manner in which You or Someone Like You is written is at first strange but as you get to know Anne, you get to know her manner and it seems to make sense.
“I am saying that as far as a god would be concerned, all of us are human. I am saying what James Joyce said: A nation is the same people living in the same place. Or else living in different places. And if we choose to be—if we choose—we are the same people.
They sat back. They said this was just beautiful. They nodded to each other, and they nodded to me. They did not understand, of course they never prescribe to themselves what they prescribe to everyone else. But they loved what they thought I was saying.”
- Anne Rosenbaum from You or Someone Like You, also post title.
A controversial novel that pokes fun at Hollywood and blows holes in the foundations of Orthodox Judaism, this one has bite. Don’t judge this book by its cover because it was not at all what I was expecting when I picked it up, it turned into a worthwhile, thought provoking read. Perfect for anyone who loves books, especially those interested in sociology or religion, and a good one for book groups. Paperback, $28.00
For more information check out Anne’s fictional-turned-real website here.