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A sarcastic spoof
on April 10, 2008
I'm a big Augusten Burroughs fan, so it's no surprise that I really enjoyed this book. "Sellevision" is the first book that Burroughs ever wrote, and it's his only novel. The story revolves around the backstage antics at Sellevision, America's top retail shopping network. "Sellevision" is a satire, and it reminded me a lot of the Sally Field movie "Soapdish," in a good way. There are many colorful characters working at the station, and each one is involved in their own over-the-top crisis. The book opens with Sellevision's young homosexual host, Max, getting fired from the network because he accidentally displayed his penis on live television. Then there's Peggy Jane, one of the top female hosts at the station who's more than a little neurotic in her personal life. When Peggy Jane is harassed by a nasty e-mail stalker, she begins abusing drugs and alcohol until she plummets over the edge. Bebe, another top host at the network, always manages to sell out of her products on the air, but has a bit of a spending problem on the side. She's also been single for her entire life and finally meets the man of her dreams, but is he too good to be true?
Several other Sellevision hosts pepper this colorful novel, which is full of Burroughs' sarcasm and quick wit. This book is hilarious and completely exaggerated on so many levels, which is what makes it so much fun. I didn't feel a personal connection with this book the way I did with all of Burroughs' memoirs, but considering the frightening characters depicted in the story, that's probably a very good thing.