Stealing “The Plot”

Well worth the read! #ThePlotBook, #CeladonReads, #LittleFreeLibrary, @CeladonBooks, @LittleFreeLibrary.

Every once in a while, Celadon Books will send me an advance reader copy of a book for my little free library patrons. I’m always excited to see these packages arrive because naturally I want to read them first. I’ve yet to get a bad book from Celadon, and this time was no exception to that rule.

The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, explores an interesting ethical conundrum. If you’re a writer and another writer describes to you a really amazing plot that he plans to use in his next book, and then that second writer dies without publishing, or in fact even significantly completing the book, do you have the right to use that idea? While it is plagiarism in that it’s the theft of another writer’s idea, the main character actually writes every word of the book himself. It kind of feels as though this falls into the category of there being nothing new under the sun.

Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, as long as the author credited the idea to the guy who actually came up with it, which is something the main character does not do. He also doesn’t mention it in any of his interviews or on his book tours. These lies eventually come back to bite him in the butt.

The book is fascinating because you also get to read the book within the book, and eventually you discover why the plot was so compelling in the first place. I was feeling kind of snobby as I read it, because as a writer myself, I can often predict plot twists many chapters before they happen. My only question was, if this plot idea was so special, why didn’t Jean Hanff Korelitz just write that book instead?

Because of that, I was braced to be disappointed by the plot of The Plot. I was expecting this to be an entirely predictable book. I was badly mistaken. If she had just written the plot idea herself, we wouldn’t be treated to the last 25 pages of this book, which came completely out of left field and had me shout, “Whoa!” so loudly that my dogs instantly went into intruder alert mode, and I had to bribe them with treats before I could finish reading.

My only criticism with this book would be that it’s slow to start, and the main character took a while for me to like enough to care about the story. He’s a bit of a whiner, and he spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. But if you give this book a chance it will hook you, and in the end it will stun you.

The Plot is definitely worth the read, and it has the added bonus that some of it takes place in Seattle, so I got to delight in the local references. It’s now in my little free library for anyone local to come and enjoy as well.

#ThePlotBook, #CeladonReads, #LittleFreeLibrary, @CeladonBooks, @LittleFreeLibrary.

Once you’ve enjoyed this book, try mine!