An uber famous, ex-teen idol tells his life story. Since a video of him singing went viral, his star has only risen. Now, haunted by the suicide of his manager-father, unsettled by the very different paths he and his teenage love have taken, and increasingly aware that he has signed on to something he has little control over, he begins to parse the divide that separates him from the “normal people” of the world.
The unnamed narrator of Justin Kuritzkes's Famous People is a thinly-veiled adaptation of Justin Bieber. This is the easiest and closest approximation most readers will make ... The book's overall success depends on the reader's willingness to stay with this speaker. Where will he take us? Do we want to go? How much can we read conversations recalled as 'I was like' and 'He was like' without slamming the book's covers shut and throwing it across the room? ... What works best in Famous People is the pacing. For a relatively brief novel, a lot is happening. Kuritzkes...has an assured tone in this debut as a novelist ... Kuritzkes's debut novel should mark the start of an interesting and important journey.
Kuritzkes’s clever debut is a hilarious probing social commentary written as an unnamed 20-something pop star’s memoir ... Kuritzkes flawlessly strikes the right balance between searing and comedic as his narrator searches for the true meaning of being a normal person while being famous. This is an incisive and fresh debut.
...[a] tautly written debut novel ... Structurally, the novel is more subtle than it first appears ... the narrator reveals himself to be more empathic than he seems, yearning for a kind of self-knowledge that he’s never developed the tools to manage and clearly frustrated in ways he can’t articulate ... It’s a tricky voice to pull off, and Kuritzkes occasionally overdoes some affectations of immaturity ... But overall, this novel emerges in a less satirical, more humanistic place than it begins. A thoughtful, subtly structured exploration of fame and its discontents.