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The Improv Paperback – December 29, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Wooded Isle Press, LLC (December 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984489843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984489848
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,133,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M.J. McDermott is an Emmy-Award-winning writer, actor, broadcaster and meteorologist living in the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from an east-coast university with a degree in Theatre Arts, she moved to New York City to pursue acting. She did some theatre, television (including a day on All My Children), and narrated for Buick at car shows all over the U.S. She then earned a degree in Atmospheric Sciences from a west-coast university. M.J. is currently the morning meteorologist on Q13 FOX News in Seattle, where she lives with her husband and twin teenage sons.

Customer Reviews

Intriguing and engaging book that kept me up reading half the night.
Lisa M. MCNIEL
I can only add that I think it's an important story, because it puts you inside the head of a young person, or really any person, facing abusive authority.
rz29st
The characters were well defined, and MJ did a great job keeping me involved in the story!
Denise J. Kovecs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Trixie a.k.a. Jessica on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a powerful, riveting account of a tenured drama professor at a major university manipulating the minds and hearts of young, highly talented, impressionable undergraduates for his own sick purposes. It is a work of fiction based on actual events which took place during student "Improv" sessions, secretive, very physical, acting-out exercises conducted in a basement theatre with no windows, by candlelight. All the students are sworn to secrecy and are even forbidden to discuss their "rituals" among themselves. It reads so well you really need to set aside a day to read it and absorb it cover to cover, because you will be hooked! Also amazing is the author's courage, both in her character's decision to confront the situation, and in re-living the monumental ordeal by writing the book. If you care about our youth, our educational system, the arts, justice against evil, or just enjoy a fabulous novel, this book is a must-read for you. And if you're a child of the sixties, you will love this trip back in time to our youth.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By andris virsnieks on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Non-fiction books are my real interest. I have reviewed more than four hundred non-fiction books on Amazon. The few fiction books I do occasionally review are special. "The Improv" is one of those few, special books. The author is a local celebrity (and my wife's and my favorite weather reporter). When my wife received an Evite to the author's book launch, we just HAD to attend! It was an impressive show to a full house in a local theater (when I "launched" my book, "How to Invest in Condominiums," at a local Barnes and Noble, there were only about twenty people in attendance). The reading of Chapters One and Seventeen by actors the author had assembled got me hooked. It is a dramatically told story (the last time I remember turning pages so fast was when I read "Endurance," another five-star review of mine) based on real events. It is, in the end, an unpleasant story; I am glad I was an Economics major. But it is a necessary story that brings to light a serious social problem that continues to afflict the nation even more pervasively than one might think.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SpiritBill on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I absolutely love what MJ McDermott has done in this novel -- she's told a provocative story about young love, sexual exploration, abuse of power, and ultimately, the honor of telling the Truth. If you're an artist, a parent, a teacher or a friend -- you'll want to get into this conversation at The Improv!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JulRad on February 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
"The Improv" is one of those great books you start reading and then can't put it down until it's finished. It is really two stories. One is about a college theater group's production of the musical Hair and how the "genius" reputation of the theater director allows him to basically abuse the cast all in the name of art. The second story is about one woman's courage to stand up and say "no" to this behavior, risking her future career as an actress. The fact that it is based on a true story makes it all the more compelling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By whitehorsepam on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with my fellow reviewers whole heartedly.As a former theatre arts major, who's a big fan of the show "Hair", I found MJ captured a young actors experience wonderfully in the begining and as the novel grows darker brings to light a serious issue we still are trying to eliminate today.
MJs charm and personality are evident in her writing and she will continue to be my favorite weather personality, funny, and educational,always good for a smile in the morning. READ HER BOOKThe Improv
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Perry Norton on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
With what has come to light about Penn State regarding Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and all who knew of ongoing predatory sexual behavior but kept silent or dismissed the allegations, "The Improv" is a very timely book indeed. While our concern tends to focus on the youngest of children who are abused, there is plenty of evidence that similar crimes take place in other academic / teaching environments as well, couched as "games" or "improv" and implicitly sanctioned by institutionalized power structures. For young adults there is perhaps less sympathy but an equal need for speaking out.

MJ McDermott deftly illustrates the thin trapeze line that young actors navigate between trust and betrayal, creativity and repression, youth and adulthood - as her very real characters grow up in ways they could never have anticipated.

A good read indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lance Lambert on March 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm a bit stunned after finishing "The Improv". In the beginning Dr. Adler comes across like an even odder Truman Capote. By the end he becomes Charles Manson at his most depraved. My wife and I both read the book and neither could put it down. She was crying at the end and I was overwhelmed by the author's courage. I wonder how long it will be before this becomes a movie? The author M.J. McDermott must play the part of the Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities. This is a "must read" for anyone in the theater world and a "should read" for anyone that wants to help make the world a better place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob B on February 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
THE IMPROV---A FIVE STAR REVIEW
M.J. McDermott should get an encore! Her novel (The Improv) will keep any reader riveted with its flowing style, enjoyable recall of the wild 1970's, bold characterization of a university theatre department, and exploration of an issue that, until recently, few people were willing to talk about. All of this is done through a group of complicated (and sometimes not so complicated) characters who become like the reader's own friends and colleagues.
M.J. says she wrote the book for several reasons, including a kind of personal therapy. But she has also achieved an even broader good. As we have tragically learned in recent times, perverted sexual behaviors can be found anywhere, sometimes in the most unlikely places. Unless we are frequently reminded that such things have happened and will happen again, they slip into the recesses of the public conscious. When that happens, they don't get the attention and the resolution they require.
I have spent the bulk of my career in higher education as a faculty member and as a senior manager. So, when Margo approached Dr. Adler and his superiors with her concerns, I predicted that the first response she would get was a reminder that "Dr. Adler is a respected tenured faculty member." All too often, "respected" and "tenured" become convenient tools for universities who are unwilling to confront matters of competency or some form of unacceptable behavior. I also predicted that Dr. Adler wouldn't be fired---he would be "re-assigned." Such institutional responses serve a purpose---they deter students, other faculty, or alumni from expressing truths that must be expressed. Bravo for Margo because she wasn't deterred.
And bravo for M.J. McDermott for having persisted in her determination to right a wrong.
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