Friday, August 21, 2009
Midwest Booker Prize: 827 Che
It was a little bit difficult to track down the Booker-longlisted Me Cheeta, since the suburban library had catalogued it as non-fiction. Yup! I'm not being facetious. 827 Che. (See above.) But I was not up to being the whistleblower today, so I checked it out at the automatic self-check-out and DID NOT SAY A WORD. I’m going to write a little note about the mistake, including an article about the Booker long-list, and hand it in when I return it. The error is embarrassing and KIND OF LETS THE AMERICAN SIDE DOWN: if some careless librarian screwed up and didn't catalogue it as fiction, who's going to read it? In the librarians' bare defense, the American HarperCollins edition does not list an author, and the jacket copy cheekily describes it as “a celebrity autobiography,” without indicating it's fiction. On the other hand, only a moron could read the blurbs on the back and think it's non-fiction: “Praise from Cheeta’s Cohorts and Co-Stars: Lassie, Mr. Ed, Johnny Weismuller," etc. Oh, let's face it: somebody was really alseep at the wheel.
Let's hope the Library of Congress didn't make the initial error.
But...Whoa! What’s going on out there?
This is crazy, but I just looked it up at the New York Public Library and discovered that it’s classified as Performing Arts Circulating Drama Non-Fiction - 599.885 M
What? I know it's a novel. Am I the smartest person in the U.S.? (No, because Harriet Klausner and other Amazon reviewers also know it's fiction!)
Okay - how could this mistake happen?
Me Cheeta is a spoof-Hollywood autobiography of Cheeta, the chimp from the Tarzan films, and was inspired by an ACTUAL article about Cheeta's 76th birthday in Hollywood. The publisher assigned the book to James Lever, a 37-year-old editor, who wrote the novel in a couple of months. And everybody in the UK loved it. It actually got reviewed. AND it's Booker long-listed.
I plan to "deconstruct," i.e., "read," this meta-autobiography soon. And wait for my husband's review next week. ONLY ONE OF US HAS TO LIKE IT FOR IT TO MAKE THE MIDWEST BOOKER PRIZE SHORTLIST!