Friday, April 3, 2009

Celluloid Cowboy


Celluloid Cowboy

I just read Celluloid Cowboy, a novel by Scott C. Rogers. In movie terms, this book is a cross between Pulp Fiction and perhaps Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino should totally make this into a feature film. It would be very R rated. Mostly for the violence, sex, drugs, chain-smoking, colorful language, and did I mention the violence? The book is really a character story with a very colorful protagonist: Billy. The writing style is bold, unflinching and evocative. I was extremely impressed with the author’s skill at turning a phrase. It sort of reminded me of another amazing character novel I read in college, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey—though I think Rogers wasn’t high, like Kesey was when he wrote Cuckoo’s Nest. Now, this book is not as insane as Cuckoo’s Nest, but it’s out there and not for the faint of heart. Some of the scenes really stuck with me—and made me laugh out loud multiple times.

If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction and loved it—read this book. Please. You will thank me later.

Overall, Celluloid Cowboy is gritty, edgy, violent and filled with mayhem that kept me turning the pages from cover to cover. I read the whole thing in about two sittings. It’s only 171 pages, so it’s a quick read and easy to commit to. The main character has been a slacker, but he has some redeeming qualities that made me like him—despite his extremely poor lifestyle choices. It was cool to see Billy grow throughout the book. I loved the ending as well.

You know the writer did a great job when you should probably hate the main character, but you actually end up loving him. Get Celluloid Cowboy on and be glad you don’t live in Detroit, drive a Gremlin, have some really screwed up friends that get you into major trouble, and that you didn’t just have the kind of week that would kill most people.

If you did just have the kind of week that Billy has, write it all down, the movie will be awesome.

Paul Genesse, author and editor
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Five Star Books May 2009

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