Bullpen editorial

How Kaavya got to keep her 500K advance

– and we all get taken for a ride.


Giving five hundred thousand dollars to a 17 year old for words on paper is a lot like taking the money out on the deck and barbecuing it. You make a big loud obnoxious statement and generate lots of attention, but in the end everyone’s mouth tastes like ashes.

Perhaps I am being super critical here and not having read the parts of the book that weren’t printed in the paper, I suppose I am a lot like those folks who bang away at unseen movies that offend them. But Anne Frank aside, I have yet to find anything written by a 17 year old that was worth reading, certainly nothing worth labeling as ‘literature’. Come to think of it . . ., I can’t remember anything written by someone under thirty that was memorable. How can you write about life when you haven’t lived one? without that perfect hindsight we all get once we have had our hearts broken, our dreams dashed, our egos crushed – how can one ever forget that first . . . bancruptcy?

I am not saying that Kaavya isn’t the sweet well meaning person who is eager to please and was obligated to deliver. But she did exactly what a child under a hell of a lot of pressure DOES, she gives the grownups what they wanted to make eveyone happy.

As for the publishing material of questionable origin it was a complete group effort: from Little Brown head Michael Pietsch’s, desperation to sign the ‘next big thang’ to bring him a new audience, to William Morris Agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh’s hiring of 17th Street Productions (the so-called book packager that specializes in developing projects in young-adult and middle-grade fiction- if you ask me SHOULD have known better) to ‘groom’ Ms. Viswanathan who had yet to produce anything publishable, into a salable commodity. It was Tinkers to Evers to Chance. It was pretty much a sure bet that what would be produced would be every bit as original as a McDonald’s Cheeseburger.

Granted I am grotesquely jealous, as all of us who type endless babbling diatribes, not for money but because we must . . . we could all use $500K – we’d all like to be discovered sitting at Schwabs counter, and then endlessly groomed into a show pony. All faux-hysteria aside. . . what did you expect ? They spend millions of dollars packaging, publishing and pushing this fake-lit swill and the American public with the reading competency level of a EU sixth grader laps it up. The fault dear Brutus lies not in our ‘rising’ stars but in ourselves.’

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