Little Known Facts (Sneed)

Little Known Facts
Christine Sneed, 2013
Bloomsbury USA
304 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781608199587

The people who orbit around Renn Ivins, an actor of Harrison Ford-like stature—his girlfriends, his children, his ex-wives, those on the periphery—long to experience the glow of his flame.

Anna and Will are Renn's grown children, struggling to be authentic versions of themselves in a world where they are seen as less important extensions of their father. They are both drawn to and repelled by the man who overshadows every part of them. Most of us can imagine the perks of celebrity, but Little Known Facts offers a clear-eyed story of its effects—the fallout of fame and fortune on family members and others who can neither fully embrace nor ignore the superstar in their midst.

With Little Known Facts, Christine Sneed emerges as one of the most insightful chroniclers of our celebrity-obsessed age, telling a story of influence and affluence, of forging identity and happiness and a moral compass; the question being, if we could have anything on earth, would we choose correctly? (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Raised—Green Bay, Wisconsin; Libertyville,
   Illinois, USA
Education—B.A., Georgetown University; M.F.A.,
   Indiana University
Awards—AWP Grace Paley Prize
Currently—lives in Evanston, Illinois

Christine M. Sneed is an author and visiting professor at DePaul University. Her short story collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, won the 2009 AWP Grace Paley Prize. Her debut novel Little Know Facts was published in 2013. Sneed's work has appeared in 2008 Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, New England Review, Southern Review, Meridian, Pleiades, Massachusetts Review, Greensboro Review.

Sneed grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Libertyville, Illinois. She graduated from Georgetown University, and from Indiana University with an MFA. She lives in Evanston, Illinois. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)

Book Reviews
Impressive... hypnotic...hard to put down...Little Known Facts is juicy enough to appeal to our prurience but smart enough not to make us feel dirty afterward…. Sneed is such a gifted writer.... Her depiction of both proximity to celebrity and celebrity itself had me totally convinced.
Curtis Sittenfeld - NewYork Times Book Review

An entertaining, formally inventive read...the world that Sneed creates in Little Known Facts— a blend of truth and fiction that weaves real life actors and directors into Renn's everyday life—makes for a clever take and a fun read.
Los Angeles Times

Christine Sneed's impressive debut novel, Little Known Facts, is a Hollywood tale that aspires to complicate the traditional Hollywood narrative. Its characters want to swap sincerity for surface, real anxiety for contrived problems.
Mark Athitakis - Minneapolis Star Tribune

In Sneed's unimaginative debut novel, middle-aged Hollywood heartthrob Renn Ivins, blessed with fame, fortune, and good looks, is unable to keep his personal life from falling apart. He philanders and makes questionable decisions, disappointing and confounding his children (rudderless 20-something Billy and young medical intern Anna), not to mention his ex-wives and lovers. On a sentence level, Sneed's prose is confident and seamless. She expends a great deal of narrative time fleshing out the insecurities and emotions of Renn and his entourage. Chapters unfold with eight different points of view, but instead of adding complexity or perspective to what has already been represented, these shifts are mostly skin-deep, revealing tawdry but predictable details, romantic betrayals, and other "little known facts" one might find in the tabloids.... While real-life fans may zealously follow the ups and downs of their idols' lives, Sneed (Portraits of a Few People I've Made Cry) takes for granted that readers will feel the same fascination for her fictional superstar and his private struggles.
Publishers Weekly

Sneed's Portraits of a Few People I've Made Cry won AWP's 2009 Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, among other awards, so the cognoscenti will want her first novel. Here, the glow from legendary actor Renn Ivins blots out his ex-wives, girlfriends, and two grown children.
Library Journal

An ensnaring first novel that delves into the complex challenges and anguish of living with and in the shadow of celebrity. Sneed’s wit, curiosity, empathy, and ability to divine the perfect detail propel this psychologically exquisite, superbly realized novel of intriguing, caricature-transcending characters and predicaments… As Sneed illuminates each facet of her percussively choreographed plot via delectably slant disclosures—overheard conversations, snooping, tabloids, confessions under duress, and journal entries, among them—she spotlights "little known facts" about the cost of fame, our erotic obsession with movie-star power, and where joy can be found.

Sneed's debut novel, which follows a short story collection (Portraits of a Few People I've Made Cry, 2010), goes beyond the tabloid headlines and chronicles the lives of those who orbit a famous actor. Celebrity has its perks as well as its drawbacks, and revered movie icon Renn Ivins' life is no exception. Adored by fans throughout the world, those closest to him also are affected by his aura and not necessarily in a positive way. His earnings provide financial security for his children, ex-wives, family members and girlfriends, but Ivins' fame is a double-edged sword.... Sneed effectively blurs the line between fact and fiction and brings each character to life.
Kirkus Reviews

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