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The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door by [Stark, Stephen]
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The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 381 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Small Press Reviews:
A shark attack, a starlet in hiding, a mysterious black box. The opening pages of Stephen Stark's The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door have all the makings of a Hollywood page turner, but the novel's style places the author in a far more literary league.
...The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door touches on a wide range of topics -- show business, fame, predestination, love, reality, lucid dreaming, and standup comedy, to name just a few. To tackle these subjects, Stark offers the reader Ellen Gregory, a thirty-something standup comic turned TV superstar whose recent run-in with a murderous stalker leaves her questioning everything about the world she's grown used to...
Ellen's Hollywood narrative alone would certainly provide enough material for a provocative examination of fame and its trappings, but Ellen falls for a computer programmer whose experiments have opened a doorway into a ... dimension that isn't quite real but is, in some ways, more real than real. When Michael falls prey to a vicious attack, Ellen's world turns upside down, and her entire world -- not to mention her sense of self -- goes up for grabs.
Stylistically, Stark's writing evokes a diverse range of contemporary authors. From the more "literary" camp, there's Jennifer Egan and Don DeLillo, while the elements of science-fiction present in the novel call to mind William Gibson's interest in virtual reality and Jamil Nasir's examination of lucid dreaming in The Houses of Time. Complex, ambitious, and genre-bending, The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door is a philosophical page turner that dares to ask what it means to really know someone.
-Review by Marc Schuster

From the Inside Flap

"This blurb can't capture my admiration, or how entertaining, thought-provoking, and beautiful I found The Final Appearance of America's Girl Next Door. It is like no novel you've read.  At the same time it is an extended and leisurely meditation on all things related to the human condition, it is a roller-coaster of psychological suspense.  Ellen Gregory and her fellow-characters are so alive as to seem uncanny, and yet larger than life.  This novel is full of realism and archetypal resonance.  The writing, in is precision, is poetic and casual at once.  "It's a flashy business compiling algorithms."  Stephen Stark has as much in common, as a writer, with Cormac McCarthy as he does with James Ellroy.  The result is a novel that is simultaneously a page-turner and an echoing chamber at once."
--Laura Kasischke, award-winning poet and author of The Life Before Her Eyes (released in April 2008 as a major motion picture directed by Vadim Perelman and starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood), Be Mine, and Suspicious River. Her newest book of poems, Space, In Chains, is a National Book Award Nominee.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1160 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Geekvoodoo Books (December 6, 2012)
  • Publication Date: December 6, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,837,193 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This unusual and appealing novel could have been written by a woman, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. It isn't often that I find a romantic story written by a man truly appealing from a female perspective, but this one is satisfying, and more. Meet main character Ellen Gregory, comic genius and sassy with-it woman who is questioning her purpose and place in life even as she reaches the height of fame and fortune. Throw in a creepy kidnapping plot set in the eerily unreal world of Hollywood, a love affair that will make you ache with jealousy for one of your own, and the thoughtful and lovely prose, and you have a brief outline of this book's numerous and inventive riffs.

Smart and sexy, Stephen Stark's The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door is more than than a romance, however. For the thinking reader, it is an exploration of the phenomenon of celebrity, of the difficulty of finding and valueing one's own true self, and even a scientific inquiry into the nature of time and its effect on narrative and experience. Throw in the of-the-moment quirky sub-plot that explores the human-computer interface, and you have a fast-moving read that satisfies on many levels. For those who prefer to read without questioning life's deeper meanings, its kick-a** plot and well-rounded characters will keep you glued to your e-reader when you should be getting on with your own life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A terrific read.

The story of Ellen Gregory, edgy "It" girl comedienne who has made it big-time and now has parlayed her brilliance into a mega-successful sitcom which has, after four seasons, sucked the joy and life out of her. A person playing a part of a person playing a part. Where is the true Ellen? Who is the true Ellen? Scripted and controlled by the Hollywood "Suits", who consider it edgy, but nowhere close to what she knows and remembers is the "Real" Ellen. Unable to go anywhere without the crush of her well-meaning but fanatical fans stealing whatever kind of normal experience a normal person might have and leaving her burned out and running from the fame and overpowering adoration.

This wasn't an easy book. The author expects his reader to be intelligent and to be paying attention. He has a great vocabulary, and I found myself using the Kindle's dictionary frequently. The book has a different style than I have ever encountered. Told in the third person, but there are no quote marks to be found. Whereas a normal third-person story is a play where we the audience sit in our seats and hear the lines and see the set, this book is a stream of consciousness where the actions and the words meld together in a rush of experience that just keeps going. Frenetic. The pace of the story is not constrained by the normal story-like punctuation, but just flows and flows and flows. At first it was a bit disconcerting. Wait a minute! Where are the quote marks? I just found a "she said", but her words weren't set off like I'm used to. But after a chapter, it seems efficient and direct, and I found myself admiring Stephen Stark's skill at laying it all out in this unconventional way.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is like none you've ever read before. It is confusing and thought-provoking and lovely, all while being wrapped up in an interesting, non-traditional love story. At times, this reminded me of The Time Traveler's Wife, but in a parallel, completely different yet similar way. I can imagine this book being turned into a movie, and I look forward to seeing it when it does.

At the start, you meet star Ellen Gregory. You will also think you have figured out the ending. Yet, enjoy and soak up every word as you follow Ellen on an unexpected journey that will leave you wondering what if? While this book may be tough to follow at the start, I urge you to stick with it. In fact, I found myself slowing down so I could enjoy it even longer.

This was my first Stark novel, and I can't wait to read his other books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I laughed, I cried. In one scene, I cried so much I had to set the book down and watch funny videos to regain my composure. That night I couldn't sleep because my nose, which had run like cheap corn syrup, left me unable to breathe except through my mouth, causing my husband to kick me awake because he can't stand the snoring. The story is incredible, no doubt about it, and I give kudos to Mr. Stark for pulling the reader in and holding him/her hostage until the end. Excellent work.

The only problem I had was the overuse of big words most readers will not recognize. Even with the built-in dictionary, the reader is forced to stop in the middle of a scene and look a word up. I am not referring to the words of the computer geek, but of the writer, Too many instances of uncommon words puts the focus on the writer instead of the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Starks e-mailed me, asking if I would mind looking at and reviewing this clever tale after he read my review of Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad." And indeed, this book has some of Ms. Egan's wit (actually it reminds me more of her "Look at Me" than "Goon Squad")and the cold eye she turns on American pop culture.

Set in the summer of 2001 (that's important) the tale begins with Ellen Gregory, a sitcom star (I imagined her as Jennifer Anniston playing the role of Lisa Kudrow in a biopic about Robin Williams), who's gone awol from her show and has hooked up with Michael, who at first seems like one of those computer geeks in a cyberpunk novel not written by William Gibson but soon seems to have morphed into Joshua Jackson's Peter Bishop from "Fringe." (Oh wait! So Ellen isn't Jennifer Aniston but Anna Torv??!!)

After a series of dramatic events in part 1, which goes by quickly, we enter Flashback City: part 2 shows how they met (cute) and much time is wasted in an inept scene in which Ellen gets drunk, seemingly for no purpose, until we discover in part 3, which is the aftermath of the events described in part 1, that one character featured in the drunk scene coincidentally reappears--a character who actually could have easily BEEN introduced in part 3, which would have reduced the book's length. As would some extended scenes between Ellen and her parents (yep, she ends up back home in Iowa) that also could have been snipped a bit more than somewhat.

Part 3, however, picks up the pace and leads to a satisfactory ending.

Hat tip to Mr. Starks for gracing my Kindle with this, and I will be anxious to see what he comes up with next.
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