Reality TV Takes a (Delightful) Skewering,
This review is from: Reality: The Novel (Paperback)
Whether you love it or hate it, reality TV has permeated the American television landscape. In this biting satire, Jeff Havens has presented a withering view of the medium from inside the creative consulting offices of Nova, whose mission is to develop new reality shows for the major networks. Nova's shows are designed to push the envelope to new heights of outrage and excess. From the novel's opening quote to its final quip, Havens takes his readers on a wild ride that will have them laughing all the way.
"Reality: The Novel" follows the story of Trent Tucker, one of Nova's leading creative forces (if inadvertently). The problem is Trent has come to loathe reality TV, even while accepting promotions and more money along the way. Trent is surrounded by coworkers as annoying as their reality TV counterparts, who will use whatever means necessary to promote themselves and their ideas. Trent longs to change the system, to find a way to use reality TV to "do good" in the world. When he finds his suggestions for change are falling on deaf ears with his boss, PT Beauregard, Trent determines that he must stop the madness any way he can.
For those on familiar terms with the reality TV programming, author Jeff Havens has managed to incorporate many favorite programs into his story. Here readers will find references to "Survivor," "Fear Factor," "Joe Millionaire," "American Idol," and more, shows that "satisfy the public's need to mock their fellow Americans." However, it is Nova's riffs on these shows (taken to the extreme) that readers will find deliciously skewering: "Gangland Romance," "What's My Gender?" "Extreme Animal Lovers," and every wannabe stripper's favorite, "Take It Off!"
Havens has done an amazing thing with this novel, he has glibly managed to inject serious commentary about how reality TV has influenced American culture, all the while telling a funny story that keeps his readers entertained. Anyone who has watched reality TV will relate to Trent's story and the fact that much as the public decries the behavior exhibited on reality TV, they still find themselves tuning in each week for the next outrageous episode. Havens has managed just the right touch with his book; it's an utterly enjoyable read even as it makes its uncomfortable point.
Christine Zibas, Reviewer of BookPleasures