Embarrassingly Old Work: Shorts: Review of My Own Novel – From 2002

For those of you who are working on your coming-of-age-novel, I beg you – please stop. Put it down. Tear it up. Erase the backup copy. Just write something else. Anything else.

Just in case the coming-of-age genre hadn’t already been overdone three billion times, author Steve Hofstetter nailed the coffin with his latest creation: “A Series of Subways.”

Subways is a half-baked attempt at a heartwarming story of a young sports-writer looking to find his place in the world, and realizing that he is young enough that he doesn’t have to. Along the way, Hofstetter takes you through a few love stories, his theories on the designated hitter, and why everything in the universe is just so. It’s a sort of Jerry McGuire meets Almost Famous meets a half-baked attempt at a heartwarming story.

The dialogue is trite. The metaphors are cliche. The characters, beyond Hofstetter’s own narrator, are poorly developed. And were it not for the Sportscenter dream sequence, the book would be as unimaginative Dan Rather’s hairdresser.

Hofstetter’s previous books, including “Go Wrong,” “Old York,” and “Relapse,” all suffer from the similar narrator – an ego-driven male who wants the world to think he’s sensitive. And this writer can’t help but wonder what Hofstetter is really trying to tell us.

In the less-than-immortal words of his newest narrator, cleverly named “Stephen,” “Every once in a while, the world gets together and decides whether or not it has already had enough of you.” I’d like to cast my vote for yes.

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