The Editor by Steven Rowley

The Editor

Steven Rowley

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny and poignant novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, will change him forever–both as a writer and a son.

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From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a novel about a struggling writer who gets his big break, with a little help from the most famous woman in America.

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie--or Mrs. Onassis, as she's known in the office--has fallen in love with James's candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book's forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can't bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page...

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny, poignant, and highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever--both as a writer and a son.

Advance Galley Reviews

When I first saw this book offered from the #FirstToReadProgram the cover and description made me think it was a light and breezy historical fiction book. I was delighted to find out it was in reality a beautiful story of self discovery and family. This novel is based in the 1990’s and tells the story of a struggling writer finally publishing his book. His editor: none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Using Jackie as a secondary character could have been cheesy but it was such a nuanced portrayal of a woman and not just an icon. Some of the descriptions early on were a bit wordy but all in all I really enjoyed this story!

As I don't share the main character's fascination with famous people, it took me a little while to get into this book. I did enjoy the writing and the self-deprecating way the author describes his meetings with the famous Jackie, and the trip to Martha's Vineyard was a nice, summery escape, but for me the main appeal of the story was the interaction between author and editor, the insight into that process and relationship, and the parallels to his relationship with his mother. For me, this book is about how our family affects us and shapes us, while at the same time we don't always realize what's going on in our own family.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review, which follows: What a charming book! As some have mentioned, the start is a bit slow (despite the big surprise in the first chapter!) but once the characters interact a bit more with one another and the true plot is revealed, it's hard to put this book down! The subject matter of mother-son relationships is surprisingly moving - I just love that the Kennedy name will draw people in but instead of gossipy fluff, they will receive a thought-provoking and intelligently-written story. Speaking of the Kennedys, gratifyingly, Jackie's presence was handled with grace and respect. Her role is ultimately quite welcome in lightening up what might otherwise be too heavy of a tale - an author grappling with identity through the publication of his semi-autobiographical novel. Having Jackie, specifically, be the editor makes us as the reader escape a bit into the world of "can you even imagine?" I liked this book and look forward to its success upon publication.

I really enjoyed this book. I love the concept of showing the writing process when the editor gets involved. And it was interesting to use such an historical figure as James Smale's editor. The scenes with James and his mother were well developed and while I may have seen the twist coming, it was still an enjoyable story. Now I only wish I was able to read the book within the book! Thanks to Penguin First to Read for the ARC!

Thank you Penguin First to Read. 3.75?? This book started off slow to me and it wasn’t until we got to spend time with James and his mother, as well as his family, that I was truly engaged. From there it got better and better, including James’s interactions with JO. For me at first, those interactions weren’t that compelling. I’m glad I stuck with it and truly Came to feel quite affectionate for James and his mother, as well as JO’s influence in the healing of their relationship. This indeed was a story about mothers and sons.

Steven Rowley has created another heart-warming book filled with characters who draw you in and make you empathize with them. This is a very enjoyable novel - one that examines a difficult parent-child relationship, a challenging romantic relationship, and a rewarding mentor relationship. I wondered if I could enjoy this as much as I enjoyed his previous book, and I'm pleased to say that I absolutely did.

I was very excited to receive an early advance copy of The Editor by Steen Rowley as I had heard such great things about his previous work. The Editor is about James Smale, a writer who has just finished a manuscript about a family dealing with an aloof mother hiding secrets. Its is loosely based on his own mother and their strained relationship. When he walks into Doubleday to meet with his editor he is blown away when none other than former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis glides in the door. She takes him in as a confidant as they complete the novel and she encourages him to make amends with his own mother to solve the ending of his book. Little does he know the secrets he will unmask. I liked the concept of having Jackie Onassis as the editor and although she is not a main character it adds an interesting level to the book. I also liked that the novel inside the book reflected aspects of the writers personal life. When Smale first meets her he claims to have a tendency to ramble and that could not be more telling of this book. We have to read every rambling incoherent and sometimes useless thought the main character has. It became more annoying then entertaining and I was not able to connect to the main character. I found his relationship with Mrs Onassis to be far fetched, I couldn't get to her wanting to let a virtual stranger into her inner sanctuary and put so much effort into his messed up relationship with his overly passive aggressive mother.

I was so excited to read my first book on this website. However the story put me to sleep. I read two books in the time since receiving this book. The narrator talks ways too much in his head and I found myself lost as to what the story was about.

As a young girl I was enamored with Jaqueline Kennedy and the First Family. I prayed when Patrick was born and when he died. Ten weeks later when JFK was assassinated on my tenth birthday,I cried again. I continued to admire Jackie Kennedy over many decades.So when I read that Jackie Kennedy Onassis was THE editor in this book I could not wait to acquire a copy. Thanks to The Penguin First to Read Program I was lucky enough to do just that. Even though this book is not about Jackie Kennedy, she is an intrinsic and wonderful addition to the story. She acts and reacts within these pages exactly as I believe that she would have done. So, in that regard, I can attest to being on the same page with Mr. Rowley.This book intelligently illuminates the working relationship between a writer and his editor; but, it is the depiction of their personal relationship that truly warms the heart. I found both sides of their relationship highly entertaining and interesting. The tale is really James Smale's tale. A coming of age story of thirty year old James. He has written a semi-autobiographical tale which has been accepted for publication. Jackie Kennedy Onassis has been assigned as his editor. Throughout his writing and re-writing of the novel, James gains a better understanding of himself, of his family history, of his relationship with his partner, and especially of his mother. It is often Ms.Onassis' input that is the impetus for his growth. At the heart, this is a novel of the complicated yet unconditional love between a mother and son. I would not like to give any spoilers. This reader stayed up late in to the night to finish it and then was sad that she had come to its end. All of the characters are written so believably that one wonders if Mr. Rowley might also have written a semi-autobiographical novel.Even the tertiary characters are nicely fleshed out and consistent throughout. I highly recommend this thought-provoking, heart-warming and original story. When you read as many books as I do, it is refreshing to discover something so completely original yet written so exquisitely .

The book is surprising and innovative. I liked it a lot and read it pretty fast. It is about an author, his book and mother-son bonds. I liked the scenario (New York in the 90s) and the process of publishing the book. The plot is about James and his book which is going to be published and edited by Jackie Kennedy. She encourages him to find a resolution to his novel. Looking for it James will be confronted with his family, his own mother and secrets are revealed.

I absolutely loved this book. It was so enjoyable, happy parts, sad bits, all of it. I laughed, I cried, I laughed while I cried. It was perfect.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author - I was very excited to read this book. And I am happy to say I was not disappointed! It was a interesting read and a great story!

Sometimes a book simply cannot not live up to its intriguing premise; this one does. How could one not be interested in imagining Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as one’s editor? Rowley presents us with this delicious theme and delivers in spades. Artfully weaving in the author’s novel to be published with his account of working with Mrs. Onassis, Rowley deftly explores the contrasts and shared traits of Mrs. Onassis and the author’s mother, the subject of his novel. The descriptions of the author’s anxious thoughts and responses upon meeting and getting to know Mrs. Onassis are absolutely precious; the reader can certainly imagine his/her similar responses in this situation. Through it all, the author learns about himself and is aided in this by the counterpoint of his loving partner and his family. Rowley is witty and compassionate, thoughtful and surprising. His book is thoroughly enjoyable with its thought-provoking themes and flashes of humor, and it raises many fascinating questions in its encounters. What an interesting read; I will be thinking about this book for quite some time.

Charming ~ Literary ~ Poignant ~ Inventive ~ Surprising tl;dr: It's never too late to be an instant success. As anyone who has read Lily and the Octopus knows, Rowley is a wonderful writer. His voice is clear and appealing. This book has the same sort of appealing solidity as Lily, but the tenor is quite different. I admit I was excited about book about books, as a writer. And, certainly this book has elements of the publishing world (1990s). There is also a famous person, in this case, Jackie Onassis. It was certainly refreshing to see a famous woman's intellect being allowed to shine. But, the best part of this book is the description of the working friendship between the MC (James) and Jackie. So many books end up being about romantic love, and of course they are fine. But, the ways that we engage with our fellow humans are work and ideas are not as common in books. Rowley does a great job showing the relationship between James and Jackie that I felt I was there. Really fabulous book.

James Smale wrote a book and heads to meet his editor. Lo and behold it is none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They form a close relationship while bringing his book to production. I love reading this side of Mrs. Onassis. It was a side I knew nothing about. This book is well written, thought provoking and a very good read! Thank you to First To Read for my advanced copy.

I actually squealed when I first read the synopsis for this one. I thought it was such a clever idea for a historical fiction book and I was really impressed with the author's ability to think a little outside the box. Instead of having a story revolve around Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her time as First Lady, this book features a writer who receives quite the surprise when he finds out Mrs. Onassis is going to be the editor for his book. Her time working for a publishing house and the last few years of her life haven't been written about as much as some of the earlier periods of her life so I was excited to read this one. I wouldn't even say I'm a big fan of the Kennedy family, but I do find them fascinating, particularly the women, and find myself reading either historical fiction or non-fiction books about them every once in awhile. Now while this book falls into the historical fiction category it is more fiction than fact based. Essentially the author took a fact about Jackie, in this case she was an editor, and used his imagination to come up with the rest of the story. All in all, I think he did a pretty good job at depicting the former First Lady. I loved how this book took place in the publishing world in the 1990s and really enjoyed that feeling like I was getting an inside look into the process a book goes through before it is published. I was actually surprised at how much depth there was to the story as it wasn't just a simple story about a writer and his extremely famous editor. It takes awhile to head in a meaningful direction but it does eventually explore some interesting subjects including mother-son dynamics. So if the whole writing thing or even Jackie O isn't all that appealing consider checking this one out as you might still find it to be a worthwhile read. The only small criticism I have is I didn't like the plot device that was used during the Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it set the stage for things to come but I was still disappointed. Basically I wish the author would have come up with something else in order to accomplish everything he wanted to with the rest of the story. This is just a nitpick though as overall I really enjoyed the book. Definitely recommend as a good read. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!


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