Anonymous Lawyer: A Novel Paperback – Apr 17 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Blachman's side-achingly funny debut, derived from his popular blog of the title, is written in the candid, sanctimonious voice of Anonymous Lawyer, an ill-humored, ill-tempered hiring partner at a prestigious New York firm. Anonymous Lawyer is an 18-year man whose compulsion to blog is almost as strong as his desire for the firm's chairmanship. When he's not facing off with his nemesis, The Jerk, in the race for the chair, he takes solace in degrading his summer interns and hapless associates for his quickly developing cult of readers (who e-mail with guesses at his identity). The dirt Anonymous Lawyer dishes is crude, and grounded in his own snobbery and narcissism: his female victims include The One Who's Never Getting Married, The One Who Missed Her Kid's Funeral and The Bombshell (at the annual office charity auction, a date with her went to Lives With His Mom for $6,000). Predictably, potential unmasking makes things sticky for the potential chairman, in what is pretty much the book's single plot point. Written in the rapidly dating blog-form and about as subtle as a punch to the kidneys, the dead-on exaggerations of Blachman, a recent Harvard Law grad, are nonetheless more than enough to propel this debut. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Though the epistolary novel occupies a small but lofty literary niche, the e-mail novel never gained a foothold, and readers are likely to greet "blog novels" with suspicion. Blachman writes a popular satirical blog called Anonymous Lawyer [http://www.anonymouslawyer.blogspot.com], in which his fictitious alter ego, an arrogant hiring partner at a major law firm, explains the cutthroat culture of the legal profession. This is pretty much the same thing: Anonymous is obsessed with becoming chairman, maintaining the firm's rigid hierarchy, and maximizing the billable hours of his overworked associates. He starts a blog on a lark, savages his colleagues, gets discovered, and finds his aspirations endangered. The paper-thin plot would make the book seem like a cheap attempt to cash in on the blog's popularity if it weren't so damn funny. Anonymous is hilariously malevolent (he refers to "winning" friendly conversations), affording readers the thrill of vicariously acting out their darkest impulses while confirming their belief that only lawyers would act so badly. Readers won't remember the story, but they'll quote the best lines. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Two paralegals chatting incessantly? Easy solution--punch one of the them in the face. Anonymous Daughter getting fat? Easy enough to solve--let Anonymous Wife take her in for liposuction. My favorite scene from the entire book, though, has to be this one:
"We had a student (intern) last summer who kept kosher. Or at least that's what she said. But anytime she got offered lunch at someplace exceptional, suddenly she wasn't kosher anymore. You asked her to go to a cheap Indian place down the street, oh, she can't, she's kosher. But if you wanted to drive up the coast for a long lunch at Nobu in Malibu, perfect, she'd eat anything. She'd eat raw shrimp wrapped in bacon with a glass of milk, off the naked stomach of a Palestinian, on Yom Kippur, if you told her it was expensive."
And it's lines like that that make the fictional blog of Anonymous Lawyer at the heart of the story both funny, realistic, sarcastic, and brutally honest. Oh, and the fact that the author, Jeremy Blachman, really does write the anonymous lawyer blog (anonymouslawyer dot blogspot dot com).
It wasn't that the writing was poor or that the fictional hiring partner (remember in the beginning we didn't KNOW for sure that he was fictional) was unconvincing. Just the opposite.
The posts seemed all too real -- and that, my friends, was the problem. Reading about a ruthless, opportunistic, pompous, windbag of a hiring partner at a large law firm simply held no fascination for me. After all, I've been practicing law for nearly 30 years and I don't need to read about fictional accounts of these guys -- hell, I can give you have a dozen names of men just like the Anonymous Lawyer right now. And the truth is, I don't like any of them.
So I had few expectations when Jeremy Blachman sent me a review copy of his book a while ago. I didn't care for the blog and thought I'd probably feel the same way about the book. And I was right -- sort of.
After reading Anonymous Lawyer, I still didn't care for the fictional hiring jerk portrayed in the book. Surprisingly though, I did enjoy the book itself.
Unlike the typical whining, bullying and rude behavior I read about on the Anonymous Lawyer blog, the book rounds out the lawyer and adds a slice of "reality" by including an Anonymous Niece -- a person outside the legal sphere -- who brings an innocence to counter-balance Anonymous Lawyer's hard edges.
In addition, instead of just seeing Anonymous Lawyer as a complete ego-maniac, Blachman allows a glimpse of Anonymous Wife and his family. There's also the tried and true intrigue of a competition with The Jerk for the firm's chairman's job. (Hey, I said that I didn't like pompous a**holes -- but like all A-types, I enjoy a good rivalry.)
Finally, somebody knows about Anonymous Lawyer's blog and there's the question of who that is and whether he'll be ousted for his posts. What effect will this have on his desire to be chairman?
These threads make for an entertaining romp through the fictional world of Anonymous Lawyer. So go ahead, put that legal brief aside for a little while and indulge yourself. These tales about that unscrupulous lawyer in the corner office will make it just a little bit easier to go back to that endless paperwork.