In the tradition of David Nicholls and Nick Hornby comes a hilarious, bittersweet, heartwarming debut novel about love of all kinds: first, unrequited, delusional, obsessive, and, ultimately, the kind that lasts.
At 26, Maxwell Lerner thinks he has his whole life figured out. He's got the girl--his high-school sweetheart Samantha. He's got the job--low-level reporter for a prestigious national magazine. He even lives with aforementioned girl in a walk-up studio apartment in the West Village. Life is sweet. Until his aspiring actress girlfriend leaves him for his childhood hero, Johnny Mars, who, as action adventurer "Jack Montana," features in some of Max's favorite movies. Getting dumped for one of his idols sets Max off on a dual mission: to get inside the glamorous world Samantha left him for, and to win her back. But when Samantha's perfect life takes an unexpected turn, Max gets more of an education, in life and in love, than he bargained for.
“Svetkey melds a poignant love story with a witty satire of Hollywood life. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this playful and moving read will especially appeal to pop-culture fans.”
“Leading Man is a funny, sharp deconstruction of our fame-obsessed, media-savvy culture, a charming love story, and a ridiculously fun read.”
-Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
“Benjamin Svetkey's very funny first novel takes the reader on a zippy ride through the underbelly of entertainment journalism. Any faithful reader of glossy magazines will coo with pleasure at Svetkey's descriptions of the superficial and manufactured world of celebrity and fame, told through the lens of the girl who got away.”
-Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
"If you read this book: You will laugh at Svetkey's gleeful skewering of our celebrity and media-obsessed culture. You will try to guess which celebrities Svetkey is really writing about from his years as a journalist at Entertainment Weekly. And when you least expect it, you will realize his true mission: to tell a stunningly moving love story. Which he manages to do in spades."
-Liz Tuccillo, author of How to Be Single and co-author of He's Just Not That Into You
“Having spent two decades in the shiny dark heart of the infotainment complex, Ben Svetkey has applied his knowing, bemused eye and ear to Hollywood and media absurdities to produce that rare thing, a coming-of-age satire with heart.”
-Kurt Andersen, author Turn of the Century and True Believers