Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham Review

The Ghost of Greenwich VillageThe Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

In this charming fiction debut, a young woman moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement—only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.
For Eve Weldon, moving to Greenwich Village is a dream come true. She’s following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother, who lived there during the early sixties among a lively community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the only scribe she meets is a grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is for chirpy segments on a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. The hypercompetitive network environment is a far cry from the genial camaraderie of her mother’s literary scene, and Eve begins to wonder if the world she sought has faded from existence. But as she struggles to balance her new job, demands from Donald to help him complete his life’s work, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother’s past, Eve begins to realize that community comes in many forms—and that the true magic of the Village is very much alive, though it may reveal itself in surprising ways.

My take: My original reaction to the writer's strike a few years ago was irritation. This was, after all, the last year of Scrubs, which I loved. So why did the strike impact Conan O'Brien and David Letterman? Ah, you see, they don't actually write their own stuff. I assume this would also include Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen who find terribly sincere and clever. Again, it's the writers.

So our protagonist, Eventual Weldon, makes her way from Ohio to New York and snaps up a job as writer for a morning show. The way is sticky, however, and paved with politics you don't even want to cross. Unwittingly Eve will as many writers have done in the past.

I found it very interesting to see the back workings of interviews and segments. Not even Oprah could do everything that needs to be done. A booker contacts the guest and the writer is given only a few hours to write a cohesive, intelligent introduction, be well read and current on all topics, call the guest and flesh out interesting directions for the interview then write a script for the segment down to the second. The job of the writer is to provide a script that makes the anchor look brilliant and clever. The interview questions are to be intelligent and provide a platform for the guest to tell the story but above all, the anchor must look good.

Donald, the ghost, was an interesting distraction but ultimately did not capture my attention as much as the inner workings of a network. The back story is that Eve is looking for evidence of her mother's existence in Beatnik New York from the 1960's. Meanwhile, Eve shares an apartment with a ghost named Donald who lived at the same time in New York with Eve's mother but didn't know her but he is obsessed with publishing his lost works and wants Eve to transcribe for him.

It was an enjoyable book and the writing is solid. The ending lacked a cohesive resolution for me. I would have liked to have the stories for interconnected for my tastes. Still, it's a good read.


Beth S. said...

The premise of this book intrigues me. I think I'm going to have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this wasn't as good as you hoped but I'm glad you did enjoy parts of it. Thanks for being on the tour.