Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Literally the Best Reviews: Written Out

Written Out - Howard Mittelmark
The Permanent Press
278 Pages

When I went to the Lockport Public Library to grab an assortment of books several weeks ago, this little book caught my attention for some reason. It could have been for the absurdity of the summary on the inside cover. What writer doesn’t want to live out some of his fantasies? Who wouldn’t want to be a struggling writer, while in the off times, being wooed by women to knock off their mothers, or being forced to work for the mafia over a stolen car? Sitting in front of the computer is boring, which is why we release the excitement through our characters. Written Out by Howard Mittelmark feeds directly from that fountain.

Roger Olivetti is a successful editor, and less successful novelist, and a terrible husband. With life in the palm of his hands, he sacrifices his career and his beautiful (and more talented) wife for a quick roll with his boss’ wife. Exiled to his mother’s house on Long Island, he struggles to regain control of his wife while forces conspire to crush him from behind the scenes.

From his boyhood home, he reunites with some of his friends from school, who view him as a hero for being a rich author. Little do they know. While sparking up a romance with an old flame, he finds himself being convinced that putting a hit out on her mother is the right thing to do. He finds out much too late that he is being taken advantage of and has backed himself into a corner.

Meanwhile, his high school buddies have nefarious links to the mafia in New York City. After he ends up on the wrong side of their humor, he is faced with doing some deeds for them  that don’t set well with his ever evolving moral code. In the middle of trying to make amends with his wife, he discovers that she’s having her own affair with the movie star who will be starring in the film based on her bestselling novel. This leads to an unlikely friendship between Roger and the actor and a lucrative business proposition. Hilarity ensues as Roger attempts to balance all the demands upon him and stay out of prison at the same time.

Written Out is a bit of a shorter book than I typically read. However, there is a lot of action packed into those pages. We go through the highs and lows of Roger’s life. Sometimes we want to give him a high five. Other times we want to high five him straight in the face. The mayhem is palpable. This character-driven novel gives us an exquisite insight into Roger Olivetti as he makes his way through a midlife crisis and a series of questionable decisions until he finally gets a chance to right the ship.

Howard Mittlemark has written a story that is quirky and fun. You want to keep reading to see how Roger gets through all the stumbling blocks that he has erected for himself. Human nature is to take the easiest path. Sometimes, that easy path isn’t exactly the correct one. That’s what Written Out is all about. All the twists and turns and laughs and groans make this an excellent book to read.

Craig Bacon wants to be a writer. But he wouldn’t kill for it. Well maybe...if it was a donut. Yes, he would definitely kill a donut. One bite at a time.