Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elton, Charles. Mr. Toppit

Elton, Charles Mr. Toppit
Other Press 2010 388p 15.95
978-159051390-3 adult VG-BN

Luke shares his name with the protagonist of his father’s wildly popular children’s book series. His sister Rachel doesn’t appear in any of her father’s work. Both children are devastated by their father’s choices. This adult novel chronicles the devastating impact celebrity has on a family. Author Arthur Hayman is killed in an accident; he doesn’t live to enjoy his posthumous fame. “The Hayseed Chronicles” immortalizes his real-life son Luke as the inspiration for the fictional character and hero of his father’s series -- Luke Hayseed. Real-life Luke must deal with the instant fame and notoriety that engenders. His sister, Rachel, doesn’t appear in any of her father’s work -- and she is left to overanalyze why she was left out. The novel spans several decades and details the family’s disintegration as they come to grips with celebrity.

Elton was the literary agent to A.A. Milne’s estate. Inspired by the effect Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh series had on his real-life son Christopher Robin (who shared the name of one of his father’s famous characters), Elton re-tells Christopher Robin’s story in a contemporary setting of tabloids, overnight fame, and Harry Potter and Twilight series’ obsession.

Some readers may want to be aware that the novel contains a brief sex scene between “real life” Luke and Laurie (who begs luke to fill her with his “hay seed...”). Realistic Fiction Welliver, Hilary

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