Book Review (reprinted from Homomojo)

I just reread this novel, and it’s as fresh as the first time I read it, so I thought I’d reprint the review I wrote for Homojo here one more time. 

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live the life of a closeted movie star? Or to at least have some insight as to what that life might be like? Joe Keenan, five-time Emmy-winning writer and producer of TV show Frasier, has a new novel, My Lucky Star, that is a hilarious take on such a life. I haven’t laughed out loud so hard since my aunt walked into a family wedding reception with a custom-fit toilet paper streamer that turned out to be still attached to the roll. This book is a riot, and I’m going out to get Keenan’s other novels, including Blue Heaven. No gay man with even a remote sense of humor should miss this book.

In My Lucky Star, our protagonist, Philip, suddenly finds himself thrust into the lives of a famous Hollywood family when his best friend, the ebullient and clueless Gilbert, lands them a screenwriting job on the basis of a plagiarized script. Philip’s normal screenwriting partner Claire (think Grace from Will&Grace but smarter and with balls the size of Texas) is roped into the job as well, and the adventure begins. In order to work with Hollywood’s Top mother&son megastars Stephen Donato and Diana Malenfant, not only do the trio have to adapt a screenplay for A Song For Greta, a fictitious novel described by Philip as fitting punishment for Hitler; they also end up ghost-writing the memoirs of Diana’s estranged sister, Lily, whom they fear is about to spill all. Stephen, the closeted megastar, is Philip’s dream–tall, handsome, suave, rich, and built. And married. As Philip gets more thoroughly embroiled in the dramas of the “In” crowd, he encounters Moira, Gilbert’s ex-wife, who would perhaps be more aptly described by the appellation Lord of the Underworld. Philip shows how far he’s willing to go in his own attempts to win Stephen’s affections, and envisions complete romantic fantasies when Stephen flirts with him. Just when things begin to look as if they could not get any better, Moira stumbles onto the secret of the spec script being plagiarized, and strongarms the boys into introducing her to Stephen. Thus begin Moira’s machinations, driving everyone, star and wannabe, into a cycle of spying, betrayal, and boy-bordello sex tapes that drive the tension to the breaking point. And when Stephen is nominated for an Oscar it turns out he isn’t the only Golden Boy in town.

If I could give My Lucky Star a higher rating than 10 I would. I’ve found an author I fully intend to stick with. This isn’t a gay-teen novel or a coming out story, as so many books aimed at the gay set tend to be. With fully developed and richly visualized characters, this is a quick and witty novel that picks up on the little things we gay men see and think and do, and the things we WISH we could do. Keenan has mastered the metaphor, with laugh-out-loud scenes punctuated by rapacious gay wit. The characters are well rendered from Philip’s viewpoint, and different sexual escapades, though not painfully explicit, are quite vivid nonetheless, and hilarious at the same time. Not since discovering my favorite Scifi novel Hyperion have I enjoyed a book so much. I honestly couldn’t put it down.

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